The United States and Europe already have one of the strongest economic partnerships in the world. Together, we account for half of the world’s GDP, and one third of global trade. Every day, $3 billion in goods and services crosses the Atlantic, supporting jobs and growth in both of our economies.
Our relationship has to adapt to new challenges and to new opportunities. As President Obama remarked during his April visit to Hannover, we see room for yet more growth. We can eliminate a lot of regulatory and bureaucratic irritants and blockages to trade that would allow us to engage in even more trade, sell more goods, create more jobs, and create more prosperity.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will do this by implementing commonsense reforms to remove tariffs, eliminate red tape for goods that crosses borders, and promote services enabled by the internet – all the while upholding consumer, environmental, and labor protections consistent with our shared values. But it’s not just about current issues – it’s about the EU and U.S. working together to set high global standards on new technologies ranging from electric vehicles – a topic of interest to Slovak manufacturers – to medical devices or new materials like nanotechnology.
TTIP will also offer new opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), given that trade barriers tend to disproportionately burden smaller firms, which have fewer resources to overcome them than larger firms. SMEs are the heart of the Slovak economy, engines of economic growth, innovation, and job creation that represent over 99 percent of all Slovak businesses and provide almost three quarters of all private sector jobs.
To encourage Slovak companies to discover opportunities for doing business with the U.S., we recently partnered with the European Public Policy Partnership (EPPP) to launch the project Transatlantic Trade: New Opportunities for Slovak Companies (http://www.transatlantictrade.sk/). The website offers success stories of select Slovak companies, mainly SMEs, which have already succeeded on the U.S. market or are considering entering it in the near future.
These companies, from all regions of Slovakia, offer clear evidence that transatlantic trade does not only have to be the domain of big multinational companies. They show that smaller firms can also achieve success in this market, thanks to hard work and high-quality goods. I am happy to share their stories with you.