Recap: TTIP, the Transatlantic Digital Agenda and European SMEs

As the digital economy and digital trade are fast becoming fundamental elements of the global economy, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) offers momentum to create a climate in which innovators, including developers, are encouraged to invest in research, development, and commercialisation of cutting-edge technologies.

On 3rd March, Alliance Director of EU Policy and Government Relations Catriona Meehan spoke at the DIGITALEUROPE and UKREP event “TTIP and the Transatlantic Digital Agenda: scaling up opportunities for SMEs”. Regarding the potential impact of TTIP, Catriona Meehan said “Developers and digital startups will particularly benefit from TTIP, as it is the smaller companies and SMEs that tend to face the biggest burden of red tape”. She explained that “If current tariffs and non-tariff barriers (NTBs) are eliminated, startups will find it easier to compete in the American market as some startups can face burdensome customs procedures and different compliance rules and regulations”.

Meehan finished by saying that the Alliance welcomes the fact that there is a specific SME chapter within TTIP negotiations and made some recommendations to the TTIP negotiators. Firstly, to ensure regulatory cooperation and interoperability, including promoting international industry standards. Secondly, eliminating tariffs and NTBs and finally, to minimise regulatory fragmentation and to increase regulatory transparency.

During the first panel discussion, which focussed on how an agreement on TTIP could facilitate the implementation of the Trans-Atlantic Digital Agenda, Vicky Ford, MEP, spoke about how the digital world is a borderless world and the importance of making our own digital single market fit for purpose before we can fully capitalise on the global digital economy.

It is becoming increasingly recognised that the nature of trade is changing, moving ever further into the digital realm; therefore it is the responsibility of the TTIP negotiators to keep up and take this into account when making an agreement.