Sheffield-based William Beckett Plastics manufactures specialized plastic packaging for the world’s cutting tool industry, supplying companies in 40 countries worldwide. Our most important market is the US with many of our products being developed to meet the needs of US customers who now represent over 50 percent of our global sales. In November 2014, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the establishment of our American subsidiary operation, based in Chicago, Illinois.
The introduction of the free trade agreement between the EU and the US will obviously enhance the bottom line profitability and is to be praised. However, we also hope that a trade agreement will help to create a better level playing field between the EU and the US. Even though TTIP may not have any influence on the way the different legal systems can impact upon UK companies facing legal action in the US, the company had spent a large amount of capital defending itself against the claim of IP infringement in 1997. Although it was successful in its defence, it was a significant distraction and the cost for the company prevented us from pursuing our activities in the US market for over a year. Larger companies can bully smaller companies into unfair submission because they cannot afford the legal costs in defending themselves against somewhat spurious action.