Today’s Star columnist: Martin McKervey

Martin McKervey
Martin McKervey
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The ongoing negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the US are very important for the Yorkshire and Sheffield City region.

The negotiations are timely as we continue to grapple on both a regional and national level with the challenges of reshaping and rebalancing the UK economy. However, we also face the challenge of increasing our exports and international trade, both of which are a key dynamic of the TTIP negotiations and are critical for our economic growth and prosperity.

The US and EU are the two most developed and significantly important markets for businesses across our region. A partnership of the two could certainly help the UK in a number of sectors in particular manufacturing, healthcare, technology, creative and digital industries, financial and professional services. The Yorkshire region has consistently produced world-class leaders and businesses in these sectors. Whilst the TTIP negotiations are ongoing, there are questions that need answering.

We need to understand what a free trade agreement between the US and the EU actually means to businesses engaged in exporting, how will this generate new jobs and what will this new market look like?

What will TTIP mean for our SME’s?

Can TTIP have a positive impact and be a driver for change in respect of the often onerous and costly aspects of regulation for business? Will it provide a simpler regulatory landscape translating into lower costs? And will it result in the elimination of the vast majority of tariffs, harmonising regulations on both sides of the Atlantic and addressing behind-the-border barriers to trade across all sectors of our economy?

Throughout this process, it’s crucial that the voice and concerns of businesses are articulated and heard in the trade agreement discussions and negotiations. Lastly, we must consider how we market and brand the Yorkshire and Sheffield City region internationally.

Should TTIP provide the right answers to these important questions then we must as a region embrace the opportunities TTIP will afford us. If these are tackled, it could give our region’s businesses the competitive edge they need to compete and grow internationally.