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The Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership Seminar – Exploring the Watershed Agreement with Far Reaching Implications: October 2, 2014

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On Thursday, October 2, 2014, the BABC of Greater Philadelphia hosted the first educational seminar offered in this region about a timely and important policy topic – the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) – the world’s largest free trade agreement. The TTIP aims to create jobs and growth by removing quantitative and regulatory barriers to trade and commerce between the EU and the US, making it easier for businesses and consumers to buy and sell goods and services between the two regions. This game-changing agreement, if successful, could establish new global trading rules and standards that could help both sides of the Atlantic maintain dominance in an increasingly competitive global economy. Panelists traveled from Washington DC and Harrisburg to present the issues that are currently being hotly debated in Washington DC and Brussels.

More than 70 attendees representing members and friends of the British, French and Irish Chambers of Commerce actively engaged in the dynamic dialogue about the TTIP in the beautiful new wing of The Franklin Institute. Our audience undoubtedly left the meeting with more information than they could have imagined not only about the TTIP but about the many factors indicating why trade agreements with strategic regions are important for businesses across a myriad of sectors.

Paul Atkinson, Head of North American Equities at Aberdeen Asset Management set-the-stage for the seminar by explaining the economic conditions in both the EU and the US, and seamlessly led the panelists through their presentations. The early morning panel focused on trade statistics and detailed explanations of the complicated negotiation and approval process governments must go through before a trade agreement is passed.

Josh Stanton, Project Manager for the Transatlantic Relations Team at the Bertelsmann Foundation (North America) was instrumental in working with the BABC of Greater Philadelphia to develop the direction of the seminar. He was also a member of our panel, focusing on the history of the agreement, and covering the three pillars of negotiations: market access, regulatory issues and non-tariff barriers, and trade rules.

Scott McCandless, Principal with the Washington National Tax Practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP talked about the congressional trade portfolio. Scott touched on the most recent round of negotiations and the outlook for next steps from Capitol Hill. He explained the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) – a partnership between Congress and the President that facilitates development and approval of trade agreements – is the needed first step to passing the TTIP.

Garrett Workman, Associate Director of Global Business and Economics and Managing Editor, TTIP Action at The Atlantic Council presented the geo-political angle. Garrett explained why the TTIP is important beyond economics, and focused on how some current industry challenges such as distribution of the same product on both sides of the Atlantic, could be reduced by the TTIP. Garrett also talked about some of the overall challenges facing the agreement.

Anne Ruhle Collett, Deputy Head, Trade and Agriculture Team in the Global Issues Group at the British Embassy provided valuable information about the TTIP specific to PA, NJ and DE. Anne’s focus on the benefits to the most prevalent regional industry sectors was particularly relevant. Attendees expressed great interest in Anne’s discussion about the TTIP and the Fifty States: Jobs and Growth from Coast to Coast publication authored by the British Embassy, Bertelsmann Foundation and Atlantic Council and released in September 2013.

Joseph Burke, International Marketing Executive at the PA Department of Community & Economic Development Office of International Business Development and Center for Direct Investment provided valuable statistics for the State of Pennsylvania, Ireland, France and the UK. The numbers were staggering, and revealed just how important trade with the EU is not only for our region, and for the US overall.

While many details remain unanswered and much negotiation is ongoing, the TTIP is not something businesses operating in the Greater Philadelphia region can overlook or remain unaware of. This agreement will have far reaching implications across industry sectors. If ratified, the TTIP posits new global standards of job growth, environmental sustainability, and regulatory issues – all of tremendous importance to the global economy.

Special thanks to sponsors: Aberdeen Asset Management and PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP and to American Airlines for the introduction to The Franklin Institute.

For additional information about the TTIP and the issues presented by the experts featured on our panel please click through the links provided below:

Click here to view photos from the event.

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