US trade pact to open deals with the world

Tim Wallace
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EUROPE’S planned trade deal with the US could help to open the way for more deals with the developing world, the Confederation of British Industry said yesterday.

Although global trade negotiations have ground to a halt, the business group hopes that a wide-ranging Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the US could encourage further deals with countries such as China and India.

TTIP “could set the gold standard for other trade agreements around the world”, said the CBI’s Brussels director Sean McGuire.

“Given the World Trade Organ­isation’s multilateral system seems to be on life support, anything that can promote the free trade and liber­al­isation agenda, and combat protectionist agenda should be welcomed.”

McGuire also called for more to be done to include financial services in any deal, as this would particularly benefit the UK. The government estimates TTIP will bring benefits of £10bn per year to the UK and £100bn to the EU thanks to increased trade.

But he was opposed by the Trades Union Congress’ Frances O’Grady, who wants a narrower focus for the agreements.