The top executives of German automakers, such as BMW, Daimler or Audi, have gathered to lobby politicians yesterday as they rally in support of an historic trade agreement between the European Union and the United States.
BMW chief Norbert Reithofer commented that about 40 percent of all vehicles produced around the globe are purchased by European and US buyers and reaching a trade deal that would remove tariff barriers would bring cost reductions of 1 billion euros (724 million pounds) for the German auto industry alone. “It makes sense to mutually recognize each other’s rules and move forward. TTIP is a unique opportunity to better integrate markets on both sides of the Atlantic,” added Daimler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche. He said that carmakers waste billions and other resources by trying to develop, certificate and crash test duplicate and separate versions of the same vehicle to meet different regulatory standards in the EU and the United States. The campaign also faces backlash – even though auto bosses say the deal could protect German jobs. The country’s powerful labor representatives said they would only back the project if certain conditions are met, including the continued protection of workers’ rights.
For years, politicians, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Barack Obama have been trying to sign the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a trade agreement which should allow the auto industry massive savings from dropped tariffs and lower development costs. The European Commission, in charge of trade policy for the EU’s 28 countries, has stopped negotiations with Washington over several issues within the agreement.