WELSH Conservative MEP Dr Kay Swinburne today accused Plaid Cymru of seeking to derail a lucrative trade deal between Europe and the United States which could create and sustain thousands of jobs in Wales.
Plaid MEP Jill Evans has called for all negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) to “come to a halt” and demanded support “for the campaign against TTIP in Wales and internationally”.
Dr Swinburne called the demand “naive” and “irresponsible”. She said Ms Evans’ political ideology could wreck an historic trade deal at a time when every effort must be made to strengthen economies in Wales, Britain and across Europe.
The TTIP deal is currently being negotiated between the EU and US and aims to remove trade barriers in a wide range of economic sectors, making it easier to buy and sell goods and services. The EU and US also want to make it easier for their companies to invest in each other’s economy. A recent study estimated the agreement could benefit Europe’s economy by as much as €119 billion a year.
Dr Swinburne said:
“The United States is one of the single most important export market for Welsh companies, worth more than £2bn to the Welsh economy a year. It is worth millions to our aviation industry alone. Every effort must be made to remove trade barriers to increase business opportunities, not restrict them as Plaid Cymru seem to want.
“Thousands of Welsh jobs rely on existing trade relations with the United States. By calling for an immediate halt to the TTIP negotiations Plaid Cymru is putting those at risk, and threatening the prospect of new jobs being created.
“The Conservative-led Government at Westminster is creating the right conditions for the Welsh economy to flourish. Employment is up, unemployment is down, exports are up. TTIP has the potential to make a significant contribution to improving our economic prospects. Plaid Cymru’s naive, irresponsible posturing will do the exact opposite.”