The United States is also Germany’s largest trading partner outside the European Union. In 2014, the annual bilateral trade volume amounted to €145 billion (Statistisches Bundesamt). Moreover, the EU and the United States are each other’s largest destination for foreign direct investment. The transatlantic economy thus secures millions of jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.
German industry therefore believes that an ambitious trade and investment agreement offers enormous potential in multiple ways:
Dismantling barriers to trade and investment would expand market access, reduce unnecessary costs, and create employment and growth. That requires an ambitious agreement that goes beyond tariff reductions.
As the world’s largest economic areas, the European Union and the United States can develop joint rules and standards through TTIP that are potentially attractive beyond the transatlantic market and for the world trade system as a whole.
The transatlantic partnership is an anchor of stability in times of shifting global power. TTIP would further institutionalise transatlantic cooperation and would politically strengthen the transatlantic partnership.
BDI’s interests in the negotiations
Elimination of tariffs
Even though tariffs are already low on average, the large volume of trade means that a comprehensive elimination of tariffs would still produce major savings. Moreover, very high tariff peaks still exist for individual products such as vans, porcelain, and foodstuffs.
Access to public procurement in the United States
So-called “buy America(n)” rules for public procurement discriminate against foreign firms. The negotiations should lead to a situation where European suppliers can submit offers – at federal, state, and municipal level – on a level playing field.
Closer cooperation on “behind-the-border” barriers provide a considerable growth potential. The possibilities for mutual recognition or harmonisation of product standards, testing procedures, and conformity assessments need to be examined. A third approach is the joint development of future standards.
Investment and services
TTIP should expand market access for investment and services, for example by abolishing local content rules and ownership restrictions.
“Made in Germany” is a global seal of quality. Thus, German industry has no interest in lowering standards trough TTIP . Quite the opposite: Regulatory cooperation should only lead to results in areas with comparable consumer protection, product safety, and environmental safeguards.
Closer regulatory cooperation should prevent the emergence of new trade barriers, but must not undermine or call into question the democratic regulatory autonomy of individual states or the European Union.