The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations between the European Union and the United States were started with the aim to conclude a wide-ranging trade agreement between the two partners that offers major opportunities for a much needed stimulus for sustained economic growth, job creation and promoting international competitiveness without the need of big financial commitments. This is of particular importance in light of the general weak recovery from the financial and economic crises of 2008. It is clear that the more comprehensive the agreement will be, the bigger the opportunities and the bigger the stimulus. However, it is important that the benefits of TTIP are spread evenly throughout the business community, workers, consumers and citizens for the benefit of all.
It is commonly acknowledged in both, the US and the EU that major benefits of TTIP will lie in the regulatory field. What is being proposed is to change from a culture of regulatory competition to one of regulatory co-operation. Therefore, in order to unleash the full potential of exports the negotiators are focusing on eliminating and resolving non-tariff barriers as they can make up more than 20 % of additional costs. This is especially valuable for SMEs, given that trade barriers tend to disproportionately burden smaller firms, which have fewer resources to overcome them than larger firms. TTIP negotiations cover a wide array of aspects ranging from tariffs, regulatory issues and non-tariff barriers to Sanitary and Phytosanitary issues, government procurement, energy security and raw material supply, intellectual property rights, or electronic commerce. Although opportunities do not come without challenges, the potential gains sure overwhelmingly justify the effort.