The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between Europe and the United States aims at improving global competitiveness and to define future trade standards in the world, and Europe will not allow its consumer protection standards to be jeopardised, it was concluded at a conference on what the TTIP is bringing to Croatia, the EU and the world, held in Zagreb on Monday.

The aim of the TTIP, which the EU and US have been negotiating since mid-2013, is to create the largest free trade zone in the world and is part of a plan for a common transatlantic market.

According to some estimates, TTIP should bring the EU economy an additional 120 billion euros per annum by 2027 and 95 billion euros to the US.

Considering the large public concern in Croatia and Europe, and also in the US, because of the possible implications of the agreement, a European Commission delegate, Christian Burgsmueller, who is member of the Cabinet of Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom, underscored that the EU would not lower its social, ecological, health, food and other standards because of the TTIP.

He noted that the European Commission is not advocating the TTIP of its own accord but that it was authorised by all EU member states to negotiate it and that the final word would be up to the Council of the EU and European Parliament to either accept or reject the agreement.

We wish for every sector of Europe's economy to benefit, including Croatia, and that is our aim, Burgsmueller underlined.

Croatia's MEPs participated in the conference organised by the European Commission Representation in Croatia and the European Parliament's information office in Croatia, and they consider that the TTIP negotiations will not be completed this year and will continue next year and longer, if need be.

The executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Croatia (AmCham), Andrea Doko Jelusic, emphasised that the TTIP primarily referred to global competitiveness and that there was no need to fear it because it should benefit both sides.

Jelusic believes that there was no need to fear a massive outflow of jobs from Croatia to the US.

Speaking about the impact of TTIP on Croatia, Assistant Foreign and European Affairs Minister Joseph Gene Petric pointed out the conclusions of a recent study commissioned by the ministry. According to the study, which was conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Centre for International Development, a GDP growth of 0.01% could be expected if just customs were abolished pursuant to the TTIP. If customs and 10% of non-tariff barriers to trade were abolished, GDP could grow by 0.02% and in the case of no customs and completely doing away with non-tariff barriers, a growth of 0.11% could be expected.

Exports of goods and services from Croatia to the US in the first case would grow by 1.9%, in the second case by 4.25% and in the third case by 25.6%. Imports from the US could grow 1.2% in the first case, 2.77% in the second case and 16.4% in the third case.

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