Free Trade Agreement with USA could boost North West Exports

June 7th, 2013

Cabinet Office 2b

Region’s quarterly exports to US valued at £707 million


Kenneth Clarke, Minister without Portfolio and the Prime Minister’s trade envoy, has highlighted the major boost to the North West’s economy that a future free trade agreement between the EU and the US might deliver.

A successful deal would break down barriers to trade between the economies of the European Union and the United States, save exporters millions of pounds, generate new jobs, and create a massive new marketplace representing 47% of the world’s output. Negotiations are expected to begin this summer, and President Obama has said he hopes to conclude a deal within two years.

Mr Clarke’s comments come as new figures published by HM Revenue and Customs show the total value of exports from the North West was estimated at £5.9 billion between January and March 2013. It is forecast that the potential trade agreement, known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, could help boost exports from the UK by 1.3%, or around £19 billion.

The quarterly figures also show exports to the US alone were worth £706,653,000 to the region during the first three months of the year.

Mr Clarke has hosted a meeting of small businesses from around the country to hear directly from them what barriers they would like the trade deal to tear down. He said:

“The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to boost the economies on both sides of the Atlantic by billions of pounds. This is manna from heaven for western economies looking for opportunities to stimulate growth.

“It is also the sort of world-defining reform that we, in the UK, could only ever lead from within the EU. The Prime Minister has been banging the drum from inside the EU to ensure that this agreement is the best it can be for Britain. Outside the EU we would be reduced to watching from the sidelines.

“The opportunities presented by this agreement for the North West could be extremely significant. As today’s figures show, exports to the US were worth £706 million to the North West between January and March.

“I want to make sure all businesses benefit to the greatest possible extent, which is why I have spent this morning hearing what barriers they face in exporting to the US, and how we can ensure this trade deal tears them down.”

David Caro, EU and International Affairs Committee Chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses said:

“The FSB is a great believer in free trade and welcomes the start of negotiations for the biggest trade agreement ever between the European Union and United States. The USA is the second destination for our exporting members and there is an appetite to trade much more with America.

“There are some issues facing small firms when exporting to the USA, such as tax differences. We look forward to advising the Commission on these issues to make sure the agreement works for small exporters.”

Managing Director of British American Business, Jeffries Briginshaw, said:

“BAB members are really excited at the prospects for an ambitious EU-US trade and investment agreement. All the evidence points to the potential for companies large and small, in the UK and the US, to grow their businesses if we can eliminate the regulatory duplication, tariffs, and barriers to investment that prevent the creation of a genuine transatlantic marketplace.

“We are looking forward to a speedy confirmation of a broad negotiating mandate, and to getting local, practical and granular as we move the TTIP opportunity off of the policy blackboard out to the business community here in the UK.”

One company in Warrington that is benefiting from trade with the US is MPP Global Solutions. The company provides advanced CRM and e-commerce payment solutions to the media and entertainment industries, provided and hosted as a managed service to clients.

MPP Global Solutions, which employs 30 staff at its Warrington premises, started up in 2000 and for the last two years has been working with UKTI to increase its export potential.

MPP has now opened an office in New York with three staff, and already has contracts with two major and well known media companies – one in television and one in publishing.

CEO Paul Johnson said:

“MPP Global Solutions is very focussed on the media and entertainment sectors and New York seemed an obvious choice for us. We are situated on West 28 Street, close to the world’s largest media giants such as HBO, News Corp and Conde Nast, and we already have two significant contracts.

“I expect business in America to develop significantly in the future and we are already looking at recruiting a fourth member of staff. The USA holds great potential for our business and I am sure the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will bring great opportunities for UK businesses.”

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