EU-US TTIP deal could generate huge savings, but some unions have reservations

EU-US TTIP deal could generate huge savings, but some unions have reservations

European Parliament officials are stressing the importance of manufacturing in the automotive sector as job creators for other industries.

There is uncertainty and unease surrounding the future of European Union (EU) membership, particularly in the case of the UK, while Eurozone instability is once more rearing its head, but the Brussels and Strasbourg-based Parliament cites employment creation as one of its main benefits.

"We often find how dependent we are on the automotive industry," European Parliament representative and member of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, Olle Ludvigsson, told last week's Scandinavian suppliers association (FKG) Annual Forum in Gothenburg.

"Industry stands for 80% of exports [and] we are dependent on a well-functioning Europe. Every single job in the manufacturing industry creates new jobs in other sectors. The service sector is dependent on a well-functioning industry [for example]."

The European MP also highlighted infrastructure challenges in Europe, noting the average speed to transport goods from one factory to another was 30km/h. "Is that efficient really?" he said, although noting "every single Krona" invested in infrastructure generated growth.

There is considerable debate at the moment as to the merits or otherwise of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and Free Trade Agreements (FTA) presently being negotiated between the super-blocks of the EU and US, but Ludvigsson came down broadly in favour of such deals, despite union reservations, for example in the UK.

"I am in favour of a Free Trade Agreement because it gives possibilities to simplify rules and regulations, which would reduce industrial cost," he said. "There will be huge discussions on TTIP and FTAs - hopefully 80% of this is good and 20% is not that good.

"If we are able to conclude a FTA between the EU and US, that will lead to growth. If you take trucks, in the US they measure from the back to the front - in Europe we do it the other way round.

"Just that kind of simplification, would mean we could focus more on R&D. I hope industry makes its voice heard to say how important it is to have FTAs. I know there is going to be a hullabaloo and [in] Parliament there will be an awful lot of discussions."

UK reports cite unions expressing fears the National Health Service may be affected by TTIP - a position apparently refuted by the EU.

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