The chairman of a leading business group will use a major speech in the City tonight to urge business leaders to get behind an EU-US trade deal.
Speaking at a dinner at Mansion House, Lady Barbara Judge, chairman of the Institute of Directors (IoD) will say that the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is “in jeopardy”.
“I am deeply concerned that we are losing the battle on one of the central planks of western liberal democracy – that is free trade,” Judge will say, adding: “If you, like me, believe that the free flow of goods, capital and people has been proven to be the most successful route to increasing human prosperity, then you too should be concerned.”
European Union and US leaders are currently involved in a lengthy back-and-forth over the proposed free trade agreement.
While the negotiations have proved sharply divisive, Lady Judge will say tonight that the benefits of an agreement “are not about abstractions”.
“They are about making it easier for companies, particularly small ones, to sell their goods and services in many new markets, to give consumers more, and cheaper, choices,” she will say. “I believe that we must fight to win public support for this vital trade deal.”
When the IoD surveyed more than 1,000 of its members late last year, 90 per cent of respondents said that they supported TTIP, with more than half of members saying that tariff reduction should be the most important aim of negotiations.