American Chamber calls for greater urgency in EU-US trade partnership

Louise Phelan says deal will help create hundreds of thousands of jobs

Louise Phelan, president of the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland, speaking at the Four Seasons Hotel, Dublin, yesterday. Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Louise Phelan, president of the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland, speaking at the Four Seasons Hotel, Dublin, yesterday. Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Fri, Feb 28, 2014, 01:00


A speedy resolution to EU-US trade talks could copper-fasten Ireland’s economic recovery, American Chamber of Commerce president Louise Phelan has said.

Ms Phelan, who is also the vice-president of global operations EMEA at PayPal, said Ireland’s recovery is critically dependent on the performance of the overall global economy and that is, in turn, inextricably tied to the economic relationship between the EU and the US.

“This is the most integrated economic relationship in the world and the two economies between them account for about 40 per cent of the entire world’s GDP. Total US investment in the EU is three times higher than in all of Asia and 15 million jobs depend on EU-US trade.”

She said the bottom line is that neither the EU nor the US can afford to ignore their shared potential for growth.


Shared potential
Ms Phelan called for this shared potential to be realised through a swift conclusion to talks on the proposed new Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TIPP).

“This will be the biggest bilateral trade deal in history and will help create hundreds of thousands of jobs and pump billions of euro into both economies.”

She said the partnership would create further growth and new opportunities in a similar fashion to the European Single Market by eliminating red tape and tariffs thereby reducing costs and opening up new markets for companies on both sides of Atlantic.

“Growth in Europe and North America will translate into increased demand for raw materials, products and services from around the world as well.”

Speaking at the annual president’s lunch of the American Chamber in Dublin yesterday, Ms Phelan said Ireland was out of the economic emergency room, but still far from recovery.


‘Unsustainable actions
She warned there is thus no room for complacency.

“Clearly there is a risk to standing still or reverting to the unsustainable actions of the past. If we are to be a successful, export led, jobs-rich economy we must press home our real advantages.”

Dr Gordon Hewitt, professor of business administration at the University of Michigan, told the lunch that efficiency is nothing without relevancy.

“The issue is not how you become more efficient, it’s how you become more relevant.”

He said Ireland should become a hub of not just local efficiency, but global efficiency, adding that it needs to become an innovator and not an executor of innovative ideas.