After almost two years of doing roadshows on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) across the UK, we can proudly report that we learned a lot on the road, in our Great British cities. We didn’t have wonkish conversations about geopolitics, global trade policy or seemingly faroff negotiations in Brussels and Washington, DC. Instead, we heard from regular businesses, businesswomen and men ambitious to export, excited about US markets and often impatient for the obstacles in their way to be removed – not in the time frame of trade negotiations, but as close to yesterday as possible.
And so as we developed the programme as we went along, we found ourselves talking about ‘today’ experiences, practical solutions and paths to successful exporting to the US. We did this with our programme partners UPS and BT and our government supporters, particularly the UKTI Regional Directors, our friends from the US Embassy, the FCO and the TTIP team at BIS. The TTIP part of the conversation was really about framing things for the next level of trade and opportunity that could come from a successful EU-US partnership agreement.
One political point did come up as a recurring theme, however – that TTIP is a deal available to the UK as part of the EU and would unlikely be replicable in any foreseeable negotiating context just between the UK and the US.
One final lesson was that we are starting from a good place as far as concerns trade with the US – it’s the UK’s biggest single export market; so lots of businesses must be doing lots of things right already. Plenty of the companies we engaged with are already very successful in trading with the US, and so we salute their endeavour and wish them even greater success with a TTIP fuelled business expansion model!