Apr 14, 2014 - 9:00am

America and Europe: Old Partners, New Potential

Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Just because the partnership between the United States and Europe is steeped in rich history doesn’t mean that it should be a relic of the past. In fact, our shared modern challenges—struggling economies, aging populations, and rising competition from emerging nations—require us to pursue stronger transatlantic commercial ties that leverage our potential and look to the future.

With a new Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) in the works, the opportunity has never been greater. The pact would eliminate tariffs, remove unnecessary barriers to investment, and make our regulatory systems more compatible, making it easier for the United States and Europe to do business with each other.

The potential benefits are huge. The United States and the European Union each produce more than $16 trillion in GDP and together account for nearly half of global economic output. Transatlantic commerce tops $6.5 trillion annually and employs 15 million Americans and Europeans. EU companies have invested $1.6 trillion in the United States, while U.S. firms have invested $2.1 trillion in the EU.

If we eliminated today’s relatively modest trade barriers, we could put that enormous volume of transatlantic commerce to work in both of our economies and for the good of Americans and Europeans alike.

According to the Center for Economic Policy Research, TTIP would boost U.S. exports to the EU by $300 billion annually, add $125 billion to U.S. GDP each year, and increase the purchasing power of the typical American family by nearly $900—with similar benefits for Europeans. Small and medium-size companies, in particular, would benefit, especially from customs facilitation and regulatory cooperation.

Moreover, TTIP has the potential to set the gold standard for 21st century trade and investment agreements around the world. The sheer size of the transatlantic economy would incentivize other countries to look to standards set in TTIP. The treaty could establish a high bar in such areas as protecting intellectual property, cultivating the digital economy, and combating trade and investment protectionism.

The time is now for the United States and Europe—our policymakers and business leaders—to stand together and show the world that we continue to lead. We are on the edge of an economic revival—one that could restore our competitiveness, renew prosperity for our people, and enable us to conquer our challenges.

As strengthened partners, we can take steps toward that bright shared future by advancing TTIP, which is now under negotiation. The U.S. Chamber will help lead the way.


About the Author

About the Author

Thomas J. Donohue
Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Thomas J. Donohue is chief executive officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.