Lilianne Ploumen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation for the Netherlands, addressed a crowd of roughly 75 on Thursday, April 16th on the importance of transatlantic cooperation at ASP’s conference entitled “The Geopolitics of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.” Minister Ploumen discussed the potential benefits of TTIP, citing her own countries economic success as an example.
Minister Ploumen opened her speech with a brief history of the Netherlands, saying that cooperation is what has directly attributed to the country’s history of economic successes. She describes the need for cooperation as “engrained in [our] genes.” Suggesting that cooperation is key to long-term economic success, Ploumen views TTIP as a crucial instrument in promoting that success.
TTIP would promote what Ploumen calls “inclusive economic growth,” benefitting all parties involved. Together, the US and EU account for roughly half of the world’s GDP and almost one third of world trade. The Minister continued:
“Every day, $2.7 billion worth of goods and services go back and forth over the ocean, employing 15 million people. Dutch trade and investments alone account for some 700,000 US jobs. It’s fair to presume that this number will rise as a result of TTIP.”
Minister Ploumen also discusses the humanitarian value of TTIP, discussing universal rights, equality, and an inclusive global community. In addition to its economic parameters, TTIP would establish “basic norms and standards,” on issues like consumer safety and intellectual property rights. Further, while TTIP is an agreement between the US and EU, it is seen as a building block toward global cooperation, what Ploumen referred to as “Mundus Lieber,” or Free World.
In advocating for TTIP, Ploumen also spoke on improvements than can be made dealing with issues like arbitration and investment protection standards:
“To sum up: the rules on investment protection must be tightened up and made clearer so that everyone knows where they stand. [T]he goal must always be a solid, sustainable and socially just system.”
In closing, Minister Ploumen spoke on the importance of creating universal standards and legislation regarding TTIP. This would greatly benefit developing countries, where compliance with separate US and EU standards is simply too costly. Ploumen noted an example of this
“It will be a relief for them to abolish the absurd situation of an African farmer with two fields, one of which complies with US legislation and the other with EU legislation.”