While The 2014 Ryder Cup Year to Go celebrations were in full swing, The Gleneagles Hotel was the venue for another event involving Europe and the USA – a briefing on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (or TTIP for short).
Organised by the respective Scotland Offices of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the European Commission, some 100 delegates representing Scottish industry were briefed on the objectives and status of the TTIP by EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, who is leading the EU negotiating team.
In July this year, the European Union and the United States launched negotiations for the TTIP free trade agreement. Between them, the 28-country EU and the US represent the world’s two largest economies and account for 45% of global output and a third of world trade.
Commissioner de Gucht also took time out from the trade briefing to meet with the Ryder Cup Captains Paul McGinley and Tom Watson, and drew parallels between the European success in a golfing sense and the goals of the TTIP.
“The Ryder Cup is one of the very few sports where you have a European Team,” said De Gucht, “and when you look at the history of the Ryder Cup, once we decided, as Europeans, to have a European Team we became very successful.
“In TTIP we are looking at a far reaching trade and investment relationship between the US and Europe, the two biggest economies in the world. To do this in the context of The Ryder Cup where Europe works as a team is a very good analogy. It was only when Europe joined together that they became successful and if we want a trade agreement with the US, we have to team up and have the support of all the member states. It is important we retain this link with this sporting tournament where we work together as we should do the same in politics and the same in trade.”
Coincidentally, McGinley worked as an intern at the European Commission following his University studies and at the Year to Go dinner on Monday evening in the Gleneagles ballroom, Commissioner de Gucht presented The European Ryder Cup Captain with a book from the Brussels-based "Wild Geese" golf society, featuring photos of the young Irishman in his early 20s (pictured below)