European car manufacturers back TTIP deal

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European car manufacturers fully backed the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the US during a press conference on Wednesday (4 February).

“[TTIP] will increase trade, lower costs, create jobs and improve international competitiveness,” said Carlos Ghosn, President of the European Association of Automobile Manufacturers (ACEA).

“We are calling for a comprehensive agreement to eliminate both tariffs and non-tariff barriers through regulatory convergence.”

ACEA would only back the treaty if the deal does not undermine European safety and environmental standards, Ghosn explained.

The ongoing trade talks take place behind closed doors. NGOs, consumer groups and environmentalists have voiced numerous concerns over lack of transparency in the negotiations.

However, trade with the US and other countries has helped the car industry achieve its first positive outcome since the start of the economic crisis, ACEA said. 

Low oil prices, steady exports, and a new political structure of the European Commission have contributed to a positive annual result in the sector, Ghosn added, saying he remained “cautiously optimistic” given continuing market uncertainties.

Apart from its positive sales results, ACEA announced that it will continue investing in “alternative powertrains, including electric, hybrid, fuel-cell and natural gas-powered vehicles”.

Electric and hybrid vehicles represent only a small share of the automobile market. In order to increase electric cars’ sales and production, Ghosn said the industry “needs to be supported by the expansion of the charging infrastructure, as well as a more consistent EU-wide approach to customer incentives”.

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