EU-US free trade deal would help Germany chems: VCI

09 July 2014 14:39 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--The transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the US would, if concluded, help Germany’s chemical industry, but it would not be a cure-all for Europe’s weak growth, the president of German chemical producers’ trade group VCI said on Wednesday.

Karl-Ludwig Kley said that Germany’s chemical industry expects benefits from three TTIP effects: tariff reduction, reduction of non-tariff trade barriers, and stimulation of the overall economy.

“For these reasons, we need an ambitious agreement, but there can and there must be no compromise to lower [EU] protection standards,” he said.

EU-US regulatory cooperation, with a long-term approach, would be “the decisive advantage and a basis for lasting impulses for the chemical industry” from TTIP, he said.

“This is where TTIP could bring entirely new perspectives. It would be desirable to establish a permanent process where the possibilities are explored for an approximation of rules and regulations in the medium to long run,” he said.

A further lowering of tariffs would also help, although tariffs are already low in the EU’s trade with the US, he said.

“Given the enormous trade volume, even low tariffs cause high costs,” Kley said.

In 2010, about €140m was
 paid to the US Treasury for exports from German chemical companies alone, Kley said. “These costs are perfectly unnecessary, we could use the money for really meaningful investment,” Kley said.

VCI expects that TTIP could create 2,000 new jobs in Germany’s chemical industry and contribute additional production worth €2bn.

However, Kley warned that TTIP would not be a sudden cure-all for the EU's weak economic growth.

“For this, the EU should do its homework – for example, in energy and climate policy,” he said.

By Stefan Baumgarten