Central and Eastern Europe to Benefit the Most from TTIP
A surprising but prominent winner of the transatlantic free trade agreement would be the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Whether it be the positive impact that TTIP would have on Slovakia's auto exports, the potential for more investment in R&D and improvement of infrastructure in Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary, or the measure of security that deeper trade ties with the United States would bring CEE, it stands to gain from the partnership heavily.
- Edward Lucas (Center for European Policy Analysis): "Partnership, Relationship or Shipwreck? The Unsolved Questions of the TTIP":
Perhaps most importantly, the TTIP would reboot the transatlantic relationship on the new basis of mutual economic interest, rather than relying on the old one of military burden-sharing and solidarity. It would, in effect, reinvent the West — especially if the United States can also reach a deal on a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). All this will be particularly important for the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). It is not so much the potential increase in their exports (the big leap there came when they joined the EU). The real gain is in the wider security that comes from having America re-rooted in Europe. The TTIP dilutes the power of protectionist countries such as France, and entrenches the ascendancy of free-trading nations such as the Dutch, British, Swedes and Germans. If it goes through, it will be a further sign that the center of political gravity in Europe has shifted north (and to some extent, east). But as with all free trade deals, the gains from TTIP are big, distant and diffuse. The costs are smaller, but come instantly and in a concentrated form. Lobbies and vested interests on each side have a lot to lose. The issues are easy to caricature. Will Americans really accept European cheese, with its nasty strong taste and abundant bacteria? Will Europeans accept hormone-treated beef, or chlorine-washed chicken? The answer will come in detailed (read: mind-numbing) negotiations about subsidies, product controls and tariffs.
- Judit Kozenkow (Center for Transatlantic Relations SAIS, Johns Hopkins University): "Why should Central Europe push for the TTIP?":
Three countries of Central Europe, namely Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary emerged as main destinations of U.S. investments–87 percent of investments to CE. The same three countries accounted for the highest share of trade with the United States by each of them around the $4 billion threshold. The above mentioned trade and investment relations between the United States and the countries of Central Europe can be described as relatively low profile and inferior for both sides. Then why would it be beneficial to these countries to push for a transatlantic trade and investment partnership? Studies showed that the overall benefits of the transatlantic free trade and investment agreement are indisputable. Although broadening the marketplace may result in a few disadvantages in Central Europe (bigger competition, less investments from Western Europe) the arising opportunities are worth to seize. On the investment side, intensified relations could result in adaptation of new technologies and know-how, more significant capital flows, more investment in R&D and improvement of infrastructure. On the trade side, broader range of products and services could be exchanged with lower transaction costs. These countries have several competitive advantages that could be seized within a transatlantic free trade and investment area by U.S. partners. Although it is necessary to differentiate among the countries, their strong economic recovery from the crisis and a relative exclusion from the problems of the euro have generally resulted in higher growth rates than in the euro-zone member countries, therefore, projecting higher capital returns on investments, stronger demand for imports in these markets and more capital to invest in the United States. In addition to Central Europe's stronger economic performance these countries have more solid public financial situations with lower debt and deficit ratios than in Western Europe. Moreover, as America has been attracted to the region's relatively low wages and high-skilled workforce in the last decade the existence of these conditions makes the countries still significantly competitive. The already functioning trade and investment routes could also ease the intensification and broadening of the relations.
- Jake Slegers (American Chamber of Commerce in Slovakia): "TTIP: Setting Global Standards", Center for European Policy Analysis:
The positive impact the TTIP will have on EU exports is particularly notable. This is especially true for economies like Slovakia's which are already heavily dependent on their exports — from the automotive industry, but also from the manufacturing sector as it pertains to the production of car components. Small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) in Europe and the United States are the primary generators of new jobs in their respective economies, and they stand to gain the most from the transatlantic trade deal, especially one that takes an ambitious approach to addressing regulatory differences. European SMEs export extensively within the Single Market, where they know that the regulations and standards they meet in their home country must be accepted in the other EU member states. While many are also successful in the U.S. market, the majority face tremendous hurdles even if they can find a potential customer — they simply do not have the time, skills or people to familiarize themselves with the regulatory requirements. If, over time, European and U.S. regulators can agree that a product or service that can be sold in one market can be sold in the other, this would immensely expand both parties' export markets.
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