The biggest bilateral trade agreement in history works for the UK

Richard Ashworth Conservative MEP for the South-East and leader of the UK Conservatives in the European Parliament, has underlined his support for the conclusion of an EU-US trade agreement, which will represent the biggest bilateral trade agreement in history. Whilst on an EU-trade delegation visit to Washington DC Richard Ashworth MEP said:

“I fully support open and fair markets, and hope the negotiations launched reach a conclusion, in what is being described as a ground breaking Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the United States and the European Union.”

“If the European Union and United States can conclude this trade agreement which I hope we can rapidly, then an agreement between the world’s two largest economies would be like no other.”

The US and the EU account for almost half of global GDP, almost a third of world trade, and with almost 2 billion Euros in goods and services traded between us every day, it would be the biggest bilateral trade deal in history.

“The trade agreement is more than just a boost for trade, between old allies. It’s also about ensuring that American and European companies are able to compete in an increasingly competitive world, that they are in a position to create jobs at home, and that together we can advance the principles of enterprise, competition and fair play on which so much of our shared identity is forged.”

“The United States and the European Union remain the dominant forces in world trade, but our share of trade is diminishing. At the beginning of the 1980s, the G7 countries accounted for around 55 percent of world GDP. That has now fallen to around 40 percent and will decline further. To maintain our way of life we need to build new links with markets in Asia, Latin America and the Gulf states, but we also need to strengthen our existing relationships.”

Foreign Secretary William Hague in a speech to US trade representatives in the United States said the benefits to removing the remaining trade barriers between the EU and US could add “$280 billion a year to our economies, and secure millions of jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. And regulatory coherence would reduce the cost of compliance for those businesses that trade in both markets.”

We want more Andy Murray’s

Andy Murray’s win at Wimbledon is not only a major sporting achievement, but is hopefully a new dawn for British sport and tennis in the UK.  We should now look very closely on how we can produce more Andy Murray’s and a future women’s champion in the South-East, and look at how we can integrate tennis into the sports activities in schools.

At present schools do not have enough trained staff able or willing to work after school to show children effective sporting techniques. Therefore we need to look at ways of getting local sports clubs more closely involved with local schools.

Tennis is a sport that has been for too long associated with the middle-class. Let’s see children from less fortunate backgrounds given the same opportunities to learn to play tennis, especially in areas where there may be existing tennis clubs. Let’s get the LTA and the Lottery to invest more resources in schools and clubs in areas of South-East that would not get a chance to play tennis.


No to EU “Pravda”

Plans by the European Commission to finance an “independent” news outlet to be run by journalists at a cost of £2.75 million per year have been condemned by the leader of the UK Conservatives in the European Parliament Richard Ashworth.

In a report in The Times Richard Ashworth MEP branded the scheme as a “Brussels Pravda” with the Prime Minister also criticising the proposals as the kind of thing that “drives him to despair” in terms of EU waste.

Currently the European Commission has announced a draft budget for 2014 amounting to €142.01 billion in commitment appropriations and €135.9 billion in payment appropriations.


Lower mobile roaming costs a boost for the summer holidays

From the 1 July new EU rules on maximum charges for mobile data roaming from 1 July, will mean that summer holidaymakers who like to use their mobile phones and tablets abroad will mean fewer tourists getting a nasty shock from their post-holiday phone bills.

From 1 July 2013, the European Union’s Roaming Regulation will lower the price caps for data downloads by 36 per cent, making it much cheaper to use maps, watch videos, check emails and update social networks while travelling across Europe.

Data roaming will now be up to 91% cheaper in 2013 compared with 2007. During this period the volume of the data roaming market has grown by a massive 630%. These two trends mean that both consumers and mobile operators have significant new opportunities thanks to the European Commission and British Conservative MEPs who have backed the reforms.

Operators are free to offer cheaper rates, and some have already begun to remove roaming premiums altogether for voice and SMS, or to offer a roaming-free areas across parts of Europe.

Not all EU legislation is intrusive or unhelpful. This will be of real practical assistance to consumers, particularly those who may only travel abroad once a year for their holidays.

It should also help small business who want to  seek new markets on the continent.

Too often people come home to an unwelcome “Bill Shock” from their monthly mobile device invoice. This cap on the amount mobile operators can charge for roaming data we should stop this kind of thing spoiling the end of their holidays.

We would have preferred not to legislate and to let the mobile companies trim rates voluntarily. Sadly this was not happening quickly enough and we had to step in on behalf of the consumer.