Yesterday is was David Cameron at the G8 summit, claiming that a US-EU trade deal (known as TTIP) could create 2 million jobs. The European Commission meanwhile has been using the figure of €545 per person benefit of a deal (quoted by TUC here, and mentioned by @SkaKeller at an event in Brussels yesterday).
Both figures are absurd. We are at the start of an immensely complicated process to conclude a trade deal between the EU and the US. While there might be plenty of political will to conclude a deal overall, the devil will be in the detail. What will, and will not, be part of any such deal? Many European countries, led by France, want audio-visual to not be included (the so-called exception culturelle), while politicians of various colours argue for the exclusion of anything touching on GMOs, animal hormones, data protection, and financial services.
If all of these exceptions actually happen then TTIP is not going to be worth 2 million jobs (even if that figure stands up to scrutiny – which I doubt).
Also the danger is that the more pro-TTIP politicians like Cameron over-hype the need for a deal, so opponents will become suspicious, and will try to torpedo the whole thing. This is exactly what happened with ACTA – both benefits and dangers were over-sold, positions became entrenched, and the whole thing fell apart. No deal was the outcome, rather than a more minimal, more pragmatic deal.
It would be only sensible to hope that a few people would have learnt from ACTA, but looking at the TTIP debate so far it looks like they have not.
[Note: my thinking for this blog post was started thanks to an event run by VoteWatchEurope in Brussels yesterday, looking at EP voting behaviour on trade. The slides from that event, as a PDF, are here.]