Thursday, 10 July 2014
Ceisteanna - Questions - Priority Questions
11. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the employment opportunities and challenges arising from the transatlantic trade and investment partnership talks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29941/14]
This question seeks to establish the position in regard to the transatlantic trade and investment partnership, TTIP. I notice the Taoiseach is getting very involved in that area this morning, in the context of one transatlantic project. This is an area that is hugely important for Ireland and the Minister puts a lot of store in it. What exactly does the partnership mean for us?
During the Irish Presidency in June 2013, the Minister, Deputy Bruton, secured the agreement of all trade ministers in the EU Council, to formally open negotiations with the US on a transatlantic trade and investment partnership, TTIP.
At a time of high unemployment we must grasp every opportunity that adds to the momentum of recovery that Government policies are achieving. In particular, huge potential is offered by TTIP to accelerate economic growth, and expand trade and export opportunities. These give us the potential to create more jobs so that the already falling unemployment rate can be more quickly reduced.
Ireland has particularly strong economic links with the US, with over 100,000 people employed in 500 US companies here and with Irish companies exporting over €1 billion in goods and services to the US every year. If we add in exports from foreign companies located here, over €26 billion in goods and services are sold to the high value US market. This gives a clear indicator of the opportunities we can leverage from fewer barriers to transatlantic trade.
The Department recently engaged Copenhagen Economics to examine the economic and other impacts of TTIP and related potential opportunities. Some tentative and preliminary findings suggest that the impact on our economy might be as large as an additional 1.1% increase in GDP. This is higher than the estimated 0.5% GDP gain from TTIP for the EU as a whole. In employment terms, this could lead to an additional 8,000 jobs for Ireland over the agreement’s implementation period. However, considerable further analysis needs to be done by the consultants to clarify what the impact of TTIP will be.
In terms of employment, benefits are likely to accrue, particularly to sectors such as life sciences, ICT, food and manufacturing. These include a large number of SMEs. I hope these would gain disproportionately because the type of barriers that TTIP aims to tackle, are more costly for small companies to deal with.
We are looking at this from the point of view of the upsides and are not viewing it from the point of view of the downsides. We will do a proper analysis, but it is being undertaken with a view to an economic win.