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TTIP 'could help boost exports by £40bn'

UK exports could be boosted by £40 billion if free trade deals could be agreed, according to the Government.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid will tell a conference that the biggest deal is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which has sparked fierce controversy.

Talks between the EU and the United States are nearing an end, and Mr Javid said a final agreement will go before Parliament.

"Despite some of the alarmist headlines, it's not a threat to the NHS. It won't allow shadowy corporations to ride roughshod over the rule of law. It won't remove the hard-fought environmental or workplace safety regulations that make Britain such a great place to live and do business.

"And contrary to what the critics say, the agreement is not being forced through in a secret, undemocratic way.

"TTIP has been debated by MPs at least five times already, and the final agreement will go to Parliament for scrutiny and further debate. It will be voted on by MEPs, and will be signed off not by anonymous Brussels bureaucrats but by the heads of EU governments.

"Our Prime Minister won't be agreeing to anything that is not in the best interests of the British people," he will tell the Chatham House conference in London.

Mr Javid will say that the EU has the potential to be the most successful single market in the world, but only if it "gets on with the job it was created to do".

The referendum on Britain's membership of the EU gives an "unprecedented opportunity" to deliver reforms.

"Now key parts of the financial services industry have expressed concern about the consequences if we were to leave the EU, and I understand that.

"But everyone agrees that the EU is in urgent need of reform. Because without it, nobody can say where continued membership will take us. Nobody can foresee what 'ever-closer union' will mean for British business in the years to come. Nobody can predict what new regulations will be forced upon us.

"That's why the renegotiation is so important for Britain. And make no mistake, we are only at the negotiating table because the Prime Minister called an in/out referendum. Like any big bureaucracy, the EU has an inherent resistance to change.

"The referendum shows that we are serious about reform, serious about free trade, and serious about bringing the single market into the 21st century, and as the Prime Minister has said, if necessary reforms cannot be achieved then we will rule nothing out."

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "No one can trust these fantasy figures about the benefits of TTIP. The Government's own research showed that TTIP's private courts for foreign investors would bring no economic benefits and huge political risks.

"And if the threat to the NHS is not real, why has the Government rejected calls to guarantee NHS protection with specific text in the treaty?"


From Belfast Telegraph