TTIP would remove tariffs, cut red tape and reduce restrictions on investment to make it easier for EU firms to export goods and services to the US and the same would apply to US companies wanting to export to or invest in Europe.
Genetically-modified American food
However, the agreement has sparked criticism, with EU and US opponents claiming TTIP may give too much power to corporations, especially foreign investors, and it could undermine food safety and environmental standards, lowering US chemical regulations and forcing Europeans to consume genetically-modified American foods and chlorinated chickens.
Speaking in Multivac’s in-house magazine, Update, 2015, Hans-Joachim Boekstegers, CEO, Multivac, said free trade always leads to a better and more cost-effective exchange of goods and services.
“Products are cheaper on the importing and exporting side. Both sides benefit. For this reason, I would welcome it very much if a free trade agreement with the US was concluded,” he said.
“It would be important that non-tariff trading barriers, such as differing standards, would be dismantled.
“As a mechanical engineering company, we must take into account a variety of standards in the manufacture of our machines. The result is the products become more expensive.
“If we cannot reach an agreement with the US, others will do this as well. The US has an interest in achieving free trade with all possible regions of the world.”
It was expected the TTIP agreement would be finalised by the end of 2014, but it has been rescheduled for 2015. When negotiations are completed, the EU-US agreement would be the biggest bilateral trade deal ever negotiated and it could add around 0.5% to the EU's annual economic output.
Lower American standards
Asked whether fears are justified by critics regarding lower American standards, Boekstegers, said no, because the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sets the highest standards.
“FDA approval is considered the ‘ultimate’ in safety in the food industry,” he added.
“Companies from corresponding industries seek FDA approval even when they do not want to deliver to the US.
“The approval is a seal of quality. The Americans have very high standards here this is something that does not exist everywhere. The objective should be to define the best standard everywhere, whether it comes from the EU or from the US.”
Boekstegers said Multivac is currently building a distribution centre at its headquarters in Wolfertschwenden, Germany, which will be completed by the end of the year.
“This is the first step in restructuring our logistics concept. Other centres in other regions are being planned. We are also expanding our sales and services, which already has more than 2,500 employees,” he added.
“We are equipping our sales companies with local capacities for the overhaul of wearing parts such as heating and sealing plates, improving our services locally.”