The Impact of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) on Central Illinois

By Jim Ryan, Trade Specialist,
Illinois SBDC International Trade Center

The International Trade Center kicked off May with an event on the potential impact of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) on Central Illinois. The May 1st event was held at Bradley University in conjunction with the Peoria Area World Affairs Council.

Consul Generals and representatives from seven European Union (EU) Member States joined experts and specialists from the US Commercial Service and Illinois universities to participate in the program. In addition, a Bradley class on European integration was active throughout the day hosting dignitaries as well as being responsible for providing program materials based on its research on TTIP. 

While the event included specific elements of the trade agreement, such as developing opportunities for Illinois businesses in the countries of the former Eastern block and the likely stance of the EU on genetically modified organisms, it featured a more basic introduction to the trade agreement. Attendees learned that the TTIP is a proposed trade agreement, which seeks to significantly expand trade and investment between the United States and the EU by increasing economic growth, while addressing trade related concerns between the signatories.

One interesting point raised by the Consulate General of the Netherlands, Klaas van der Tempel, was that less emphasis was being placed on lowering tariffs than is typically seen in free trade agreement negotiations.   He explained this was due to the fact that, while individual companies may experience significant savings from lower tariffs, existing tariffs are already comparatively low (typically under 3% of the value of an exported item, according to the students’ research).

As a result, more attention has been placed on eliminating non-tariff barriers, such as customs procedures, which may impose unnecessary costs and limit competitive opportunities for U.S. exports. There is also added emphasis on reconciling standards that provide a competitive advantage to products of the EU. 

While many varying viewpoints were expressed, one common theme that was echoed by speakers and attendees alike was that a business did not have to be conducting direct trade with Europe to have a stake in these important negotiations.  If you would like to learn more about TTIP or other Free Trade Agreement opportunities, please contact the ITC at (309) 677-3075.