Survey: TTIP — Majority of executives critical of trade agreement

Dr. Haffa & Partner Expert Call: only 7 percent endorse treaty

Expert_Call_2_2016_TTIPMunich, June 21, 2016 — Two out of three managers have a negative view of the TTIP (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership). This is the result of the most recent Dr. Haffa & Partner Expert Call. Munich communications agency Dr. Haffa & Partner asked 75 German executives and opinion leaders what they thought of the planned trade agreement with the USA.

The survey found that 39 percent of those surveyed reject the trade agreement with the United States. 22 percent have a positive view of TTIP overall, yet criticize the lack of transparency in the negotiation process. One in three are unable to offer a clear position since confusion reigns on the topic. Only seven percent of those surveyed support TTIP without reservation.

One respondent explained: “This is about much more than just a free-trade agreement. Curtailing democracy to benefit the interests of a strong lobby is in no way acceptable.” A supporter, on the other hand, shared the following viewpoint: “Free trade is our livelihood! Of course some of the individual provisions in TTIP have to be thoroughly and fairly negotiated, for instance the jurisdiction and treatment of certain subsidies. Another respondent criticized the lack of transparency in the negotiations, which have generated little trust among citizens. That resonated with yet another respondent: “A free trade agreement suggests FREE thinking and negotiating.” Another respondent remarked: “TTIP is in my opinion a perfect example of a complete failure at communicating.”

Sebastian Pauls, Managing Partner at Dr. Haffa & Partner, explained:  “It’s no wonder that so many managers are uncertain what to think about TTIP. The entire project is riddled with uncertainties — from a communications perspective, this free trade agreement is a total disaster. That’s why the EU is doing the right thing by advocating for greater transparency and explaining the benefits of the agreement to companies and citizens. But they’ve got a long road ahead of them. Whether for instance private arbitration courts as an alternative to normal courts are absolutely necessary in developed industrial countries with extremely stable legal systems is beyond questionable — no communications strategy, no matter how sophisticated, can help them there. You can only explain benefits when they actually exist.”

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