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    Austrian Business Lobby Clamors for 'TTIP-Like' Deal Between EU and Russia

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    A 'TTIP-like' trade deal with Russia would be crucial if the EU hopes to shift the focus of global trade away from the Pacific Rim and towards Europe, according to the head of Austria's influential business lobby.

    The countries of the European Union must form a TTIP-like trade deal with Russia, according to Georg Kapsch, the head of the Federation of Austrian Industry, an influential business lobby in Austria.

    The TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), is an exclusive deal between the United States and EU countries concerning business regulation, the reduction of tariffs and settlement of disputes between states and corporations. In addition to the TTIP, the US is negotiating a TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership), a potentially more comprehensive agreement with countries in Asia and the Americas.

    "I am convinced of that. We need a TTIP-like deal with Russia. We need to create this bridge, otherwise we have no chance to compete with Asia," Kapsch told Austrian business daily WirtschaftsBlatt in an interview.

    Current trends in trade and economic development have shifted the focal point of trade and investment away from Europe and toward Asia, according to Kapsch.

    "Yes, we need a free trade zone with Russia, the US and Canada. That would shift the center of gravity, which has continued to move toward the east, back towards the Atlantic," Kapsch said.

    Kapsch, who himself is CEO of the international logistics company Kapsch Inc., added that a failure to make a similar deal with Russia would lead to less growth and fewer jobs in the EU.

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    Tags:
    European Union, trade, Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), United States, Russia
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