The Netherlands: Joost van Beek believes that TTIP could prove useful in case they decide to export to the US. However, van Beek worries about this trade agreement as it primarily focuses on economic growth. The idea of eternal growth cannot last as the effects on the environment are already visible, so van Beek. Instead, he would like to see agreements on the conservation and reconstruction of nature, the fair division of available prosperity and an overall sustainable economy with a focus on recycling, reusability and renewable resources. Joost van Beek, Effio.
Germany: “The completely different understanding of the copyright law is a major sticking point in the TTIP negotiations. According to the copyright law of Central Europe, ownership of the created work remains with the artist/author/composer (not for sale). Under American copyright law you can sell the work as a buy-out. Once and for all times you have lost all claims to your own work.” Theo Geissler, CEO of ConBrio Verlagsgesellschaft mbH in Regensburg.
Germany: “Bernhard Schmitt, managing director Artur Glöckler GmbH, points out: “In Germany you can get a drinking water approval, as we need for our products, for around 1.200 Euro. In the US, you pay ten times as much for such an authorization by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). This shows a preferential treatment of US companies on the European market, especially since there is unanimity among the business community that the US government will never deviate from their FDA approval system.”
The Netherlands: Dutch Craft Beer brewer Rick Nelson wants to bring back more variety in tastes to the beer world. Already exporting to the United States and striving for expanding his business to foreign markets in the future he believes that TTIP could perhaps make a big difference to his business in the long term. However, comparing their small-sized business to large mega breweries, the benefits may be disproportional. As a citizen, Nelson worries about the little influence or control one has over a lot of aspects of TTIP. Rick Nelson, Oedipus Brewing.
Germany: “For our industry, the electronics industry, and in particular in the field of standards, I see TTIP as threat.” says Guido Körber, CEO of Code Mercenaries GmbH.
Körber has signed the call of “SMEs against TTIP” and talks about the risks of TTIP for small and medium enterprises.
Germany: “When different parties draft a contract with each partner having its own specific standards, it is very likely that, in the process of negotiation, those standards will be lowered. With TTIP, we are not sure whether we will be able to continue as before since our company Märkisches Landbrot (organic bakery and mill) meets relatively high standards in procurement, production and its environmental management system”, says Christoph Deinert, chief executive of Märkisches Landbrot.
Germany: „In America, there are exactly 11 substances banned from cosmetic products. In Europe there are 1.300. With TTIP, it is to be feared that the number of banned ingredients in Europe will decrease and standards softened”, says Axel Kaiser, managing partner of DENTTABS GmbH.
Kaiser has signed the call of “SMEs against TTIP” and talks about the risks of TTIP for small and medium enterprises.
The Netherlands: As part of the online marketplace for sustainable energy, Vandebron, van Leeuwen wants to bring honesty and transparency back to the energy business. TTIP, for van Leeuwen, is the old economic way of thinking, as it is always striving for ‘more’. The new economic thinking however is about ‘better’ – which he sees at threat with TTIP. Chiel van Leeuwen, Vandebron.
Germany: „The Chambers of Commerce and trade associations communicated the opportunities of TTIP too one-sided. For me, as a medium-sized enterprise, it is of special concern to also talk about the risks of TTIP”, says Martina Römmelt-Fella of Fella Maschinenbau GmbH, a family-owned medium-sized business in Bavaria.
Römmelt-Fella is one of the initiators of the business initiative “SMEs against TTIP” in Germany and talks about the risks of the planned free trade agreement TTIP for small and medium enterprises.
The Netherlands: With her company “Bijen-en-bedrijf” Sonne Copijn supplies people with education on bees, bumblebees and butterflies. “TTIP concerns me deeply. I believe it strengthens the economical power of multinationals and foreign companies in relation to the common interest.If there would be an international agreement (…) it should (…) strengthen the variety of species and (…) ensure a poison-free food system.” Sonne Copijn, Bijen-en-bedrijf.
Germany: Gottfried Härle, a fourth generation brewer and owner of Clemens Härle KG brewery in Allgäu (Southern Germany) points out: „About 80% of consumers in Germany and in Europe are against genetically modified food! If the labeling requirement is abolished or softened, the market will be open to genetically modified products, which could lead to misleading the consumer in this context.”
Germany: UnternehmensGrün, the German Federal association of green economy, talks to small and medium-sized enterprises about the consequences of TTIP on their business, on the environment and on regional economic structures.Interviewpartner: Alyss Jade McDonald-Bärtl, http://www.blysschocolate.com