COMMENTARY: Croatia’s Diplomacy Leading Economic/Trade Discussions on TTIP

klisovic13 October 2014, LPJ Croatia Issue 104

The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs is the leading institution for the state regarding the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) free trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and the United States.  Deputy Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Josko Klisovic manages the negotiations process and coordinates the country’s economic/trade interests with other state ministries, institutions, and the business community.

Even though this is logical, since any final agreements will be signed by the US and the EU (agreed upon by its member states, including Croatia), such an agreement would represent potentially the largest regional free-trade agreement in history, covering over 45% of the world’s GDP.

US investment in the EU is 3 times greater than US investment in the whole of Asia and EU investment in the US is eight times that of EU investment in India and China combined. Intra-company transfers are estimated to constitute a third of all transatlantic trade. The US and EU are the largest trading partners of most other countries in the world and account for a third of world trade flows. Given the already low tariff barriers (under 3%), to make the deal a success the aim is to remove non-tariff barriers.

Documents released by the European Commission in July 2014 the topics under discussion are grouped into three broad areas: Market Access; Industry-Specific Regulation; and broader rules and principles and modes of co-operation.

Potential Benefits

An economic assessment prepared by the Centre for Economic Policy Research in March 2013, estimates that a comprehensive agreement will result in annual GDP growth in the EU of €68-€119 billion by 2027 and annual GDP growth of €50-€95 billion in the US. The same report estimates that a limited agreement, focused only on tariffs, will result in annual GDP growth in the EU of €24 billion by 2027 and annual growth of €9 billion in the US. The most optimistic GDP growth estimates, if shared equally among the populace, would translate into additional annual disposable income of €545 for a family of four in the EU and €655 for a family of four in the US…

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