SME thinktank demands freeze in TTIP negotiations



Ninder Johal. Chair, BGF.

THE Business Growth Foundation (BGF), a new national organisation which is positioning itself as a thinktank for SMEs, has called for a freeze on Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations.

Its stance is the result of a survey by YouGov research of more than 1,000 UK SMEs on international trade.

Ninder Johal, BGF’s chairman and high-profile Black Country businessman, argued that “any deal that does not benefit a business sector, which is so fundamental to the UK economy is the wrong deal”.

The Foundation is calling on the government to commission an independent impact assessment of the TTIP proposals on UK SMEs, sector by sector, so all the costs and benefits can be properly considered.

He said: “Our role as a foundation is to give a voice to SMEs, and to bring about real change for the sector.  Calling for an immediate freeze and renegotiation of TTIP is just the start, we want to work with the sector and its affiliated organisations to bridge this fundamental gap in knowledge and engagement.”

The research findings included only one-in-seven SMEs feel TTIP and other similar deals will benefit them directly and only one-in-four believe UK SMEs will benefit more generally.

However more than half felt that the interests of UK SMEs were not sufficiently considered when international trade deals that affect them are agreed, and that TTIP and similar deals will benefit large companies.

Mr Johal added: “Our findings follow on from the European Commission’s own, paid consultants who, when looking at the TTIP in detail, said it was not good for SMEs and showed that most sectors that benefit are not ones that SMEs are active in.

“The overall goal of any initiative such as this should be to create wealth and strengthen the economy and to achieve this, UK SMEs must have a seat at the table.”

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By Alex Turner – Editor


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