Trade deal between EU and US ‘crucial’ for growth, CBI says

John Cridland, CBI
John Cridland, CBI
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The CBI has backed a controversial trade deal between the European Union and the US as “crucial” for future growth.

Opponents of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) have accused the Government of hiding behind a “veil of secrecy” over requests for information.

Unions and campaign groups have warned the deal will lead to the privatisation of health services in the UK, a claim strongly denied by Ministers and business leaders.

Unite said it had made two unsuccessful Freedom of Information (FoI) requests to Government departments requesting any legal advice received on the potential impact of TTIP.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “The Prime Minister claims there is no threat to the NHS from TTIP.

“If this is true, why doesn’t he just remove the NHS from the trade deal and why won’t the Department of Health release its legal advice?”

But CBI director general John Cridland backed the proposals, noting the deal could be worth up to €120bn (£94bn) to the EU annually.

He said: “It could create thousands of new opportunities for our young people at a time when youth unemployment across the continent remains startlingly high.

“It would create an integrated market of over 800 million people, bringing more choices for consumers at cheaper prices.”

“There are real advantages to drive home, particularly for smaller firms,” he added.