Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) and Vice President of the BDI, made the following statement:
“TTIP must not fall victim to a debate based on scaremongering and populism. The anti-TTIP movement does not wish to provide information, but to manipulate. It ignores facts and opportunities arising from free trade – and long ago stopped using objective arguments. All of that does not stem from a movement of grass-roots democracy. What is behind it is an alliance of organizations that are professional campaigners and have been coordinating the resistance to TTIP for a long time. They were able to develop such clout only because they had the support of some policy-makers, especially among German politicians. This was also the conclusion of a recent analysis by the European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE).
While here in Germany critics of globalization are drumming up resistance to TTIP, many of our European neighbors perceive the agreement first and foremost as providing opportunities. The Scandinavian states, for example, maintain close economic relations with the US. For many southern European states, the agreement is a welcome indication of new options for selling agricultural products.
Demanding an end to the negotiations – as the Governments of France and Austria are doing – is politically irresponsible. Those who only hold up a stop sign to TTIP and Ceta will share responsibility for the consequences that could result from failure of the negotiations. These consequences will be far greater than the costs of today’s import duties. TTIP is not about undermining social, product-related or environmental standards, but about eliminating duplicated regulations and bureaucracy. Removing customs duties, facilitating the exchange of goods, mutual recognition of technical regulations – all of this saves time and money. The EU has stated that TTIP will not reduce European standards and that the precautionary principle will remain intact.
The European Commission and the German Government must stay on course regarding TTIP. Now especially after the Brexit vote, Europe must make every effort to stay together. If TTIP fails, the EU will be less flexible in its trade policy. There would be less opportunity to actively influence the form that globalization takes. The negotiating partners on both sides of the Atlantic should really work at staying on the ball. At this time it is still possible to reach agreements. The automotive industry is calling for the existing strategic window for this ambitious project to be used. Europe must not be left on the sidelines to watch while others define the game.”