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Salt Lake City— Leading a trade delegation to Europe, Governor Gary R. Herbert, along with members of his trade mission delegation, met with multiple European Union leaders in Brussels, Belgium, to discuss how to improve trade between Europe and the United States.
In two separate meetings that were arranged with the assistance of European Union Ambassador to the U.S. David O’Sullivan, the delegation met with several heads of cabinet for the European Commission. Topics discussed in the meetings ranged from individual industry relationships to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations. A following meeting with the EU Vice President focused on building private sector investment.
“Building personal ties between countries leads to increased economic development,” said Gov. Herbert. “It also leads to something more important which is the peace and prosperity for all involved that comes from the creation of opportunity and that is the basis of mutually beneficial export relationships.”
The TTIP, a proposed free trade agreement between the European Union and the United States was a major topic of discussion during several of the meetings. The TTIP seeks to help businesses on both sides of the Atlantic by doing away with existing red tape and creating new rules for exports, imports and investment. In the meetings, Governor Herbert expressed his support for the TTIP agreement in both of his leadership capacities, first the Governor of Utah and as the incoming Chairman of the National Governor’s Association.
The European Commission launched a public consultation on a limited set of clauses and published parts of an overview of TTIP in January of this year. The agreement is expected to be finalized in 2016.
Following the meeting with the EU Vice President, World Trade Center Utah President and CEO, Derek Miller, expressed satisfaction that doors had been opened for expanded trade with Europe for Utah businesses. “The most important distance in international business is the last three feet, because it is always more successful to do business with people you know and trust,” said Miller. “The EU is our country’s longest standing trading partner and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership gives the U.S. the opportunity to strengthen its existing relationship with the EU, which means more business growth for Utah companies.”
Listed by both Pollina Corporate Real Estate and Forbes magazine as the No. 1 State for Business, Utah leads the country in many economic measures, including the ranking of 4th Most Diverse Economy in the nation. More than 60,000 jobs in the state are directly related to international trade, and Utah’s exports totaled $12 billion in 2014.
“It’s clear that Utah has earned its seat at the table when it comes to international trade,” said Val Hale, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED). “We are thrilled to have had this opportunity to meet with key European Union leaders to discuss the best possible export relations for both the EU and Utah. A win for the U.S. in international trade is a definite win for Utah.”