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Angela Merkel for the free trade agreement

"TTIP is a fantastic opportunity"

A free trade agreement between the EU and the USA is an indispensable foundation on which to build prosperity, growth and competitiveness in Germany and Europe. At the TTIP congress of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the German Bundestag, Chancellor Angela Merkel called for support for the transatlantic project.

Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks at the TTIP congress of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the German Bundestag. The Chancellor is convinced that Germany, as an exporting nation, will benefit from TTIP Photo: Bundesregierung/Bergmann

"More trade offers businesses, consumers and service providers a fantastic opportunity," declared the Chancellor. "Yes to TTIP! Harness opportunities, defend interests, shape the future" was the motto of the discussion held in Berlin, which was attended by Anthony Gardner, the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Rupert Schlegelmilch, Director at the EU’s Directorate General for Trade and Eric Schweitzer, President of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

Important for an exporting nation

TTIP has been greeted with a great deal of scepticism and has been rejected by many. This is why it is important to look at the arguments, said the Chancellor. What is at stake is our prosperity and our future as an exporting nation. "We need good terms on which to export so that we can create more jobs." Increased sales will generate more jobs. This, along with lower prices and a wider spectrum of products, is the greatest advantage for consumers. The free trade agreement is also needed to foster the innovative force and competitiveness of German businesses on the American market, she added.

Germany is the world’s third largest exporter. One German job in four depends directly on exports; more than one million jobs depend on exports to the USA alone. Small and medium businesses in particular rely on foreign demand.

Arguments overtaken by events

Unfortunately we keep seeing debates about things which have long been decided, said the Chancellor, referring to the debates about chlorinated chickens, the fixing of book prices, basic public services and occupational safety. "Our standards, for instance on consumer protection, environmental protection and health protection are non-negotiable," Angela Merkel continued. The aim is to set new global standards and dismantle non-tariff barriers to trade. The German automobile industry alone could save one billion US dollars a year in customs duties – money which could be put to better use in research and development.

High standards can set global benchmarks

Precisely because the negotiations are more complicated than would be the case for a classic free trade agreement, results can be achieved that will not only strengthen Germany, but have positive global impacts. A trade and investment partnership between these two markets, which together have the highest consumer protection and environmental standards, could set new global standards for international trade in future.

Success of free trade speaks for itself

The success of other free trade agreements demonstrates how effective they can be, said the Chancellor. The free trade agreement with Korea, for instance, has resulted in higher exports with the volume of German products on the Korean market up by a factor of three. Today Germany exports more cars to Korea than it imports. Parallel to TTIP, negotiations are currently also being conducted with India, Japan and Canada.

USA is most important trading partner

The incentive was global efforts to achieve comprehensive free trade agreements. Switzerland, for instance, recently signed a free trade agreement with China. The USA is due to finalise an agreement with the Pacific states soon. The USA has today become the biggest buyer of German exports. By the end of this year, the EU should have reached agreement with the USA on the fundamental points of an agreement, declared the Chancellor with conviction.

Sep 21, 2015