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EU-USA Free Trade momentum gathers as negotionations launched

13 February 2013

EU-USA Free Trade momentum gathers as negotionations launched

President Obama’s strong statement of support for an EU-US trade agreement in last night’s State of the Union address will continue to build the momentum towards a deal, with talks being formally announced today.

President Obama’s strong statement of support for an EU-US trade agreement in last night’s State of the Union address will continue to build the momentum towards a deal, with talks being formally announced today. However, the good will on both sides of the Atlantic must now be capitalised upon to make urgent progress following the publication of recommendation of the EU-US High Level Working Group, Robert Sturdy MEP, European Conservatives and Reformists group trade spokesman, said today.

Last night, President Obama said: “I am announcing that we will launch talks on a comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union – because trade that is free and fair across the Atlantic supports millions of good-paying American jobs”.

His call follows strong support from EU leaders last week in their European Council conclusions.

The European Parliament backed a deal last October when it supported a call by Mr Sturdy to open negotiations in 2013, “to build on present political momentum and support from industry to enable a swift and successful conclusion to negotiations.”

This lunchtime, Presidents Obama, Barroso and Van Rompuy confirmed that following the publication of the High Level Working Group’s report, formal talks would now get underway. They said: “Through this negotiation, the United States and the European Union will have the opportunity not only to expand trade and investment across the Atlantic, but also to contribute to the development of global rules that can strengthen the multilateral trading system.”

The transatlantic commercial relationship is by far the largest in the world, with the European Union and the United States exceeding 3.22 trillion Euros in annual trade, investment and sales by foreign affiliates of companies of one another’s market, representing over 50% of global GDP. The removal of just 50% of the existing trade barriers between EU and US would lead to a 0.7% higher growth rate per year in the EU (US: +0.3%).

Mr Sturdy, Vice-President of the parliament’s international trade committee, said:

“With the right level of political will, a trade deal is possible. This agreement has moved from being an impossible dream to a potential reality in a matter of months. Now we must capitalise on the head of steam that has been created.

“The detail will take time to work through and there are many obstacles to breaking down the remaining barriers. However, the benefits of more open trade far outweigh the vested interests that might oppose a deal.

“This deal is a game changer in global trade. It is the most exciting development since the collapse of the Doha talks.

“The ECR group will continue to strongly support opening trade with the rest of the World. The USA trade partnership must be a priority for growth and jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.”

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