Everything on the table in US-EU free trade deal: US
By Paul Handley, AFPWASHINGTON -- Everything will be on the table when U.S. and EU negotiators restart talks on ambitious transatlantic free-trade deal with a new wind in their sales, Washington's top trade negotiator said Wednesday.
February 15, 2013, 12:04 am TWN
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership would create the world's largest free trade area, liberalize investment and harmonize regulation, boosting economic growth and jobs, leaders from the two sides said.
U.S. President Barack Obama made a renewed commitment to the talks one of the centerpieces of his annual State of the Union address on Tuesday, and diplomats said the first stage of a deal could be completed by late next year.
On Wednesday, Obama, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso declared their commitment to make the project “as an even stronger driver of our prosperity.
“The transatlantic economic relationship is already the world's largest, accounting for half of global economic output and nearly one trillion dollars in goods and services trade,” they said, in a joint statement.
“We are committed to making this relationship.”
Barroso said in Brussels that an accord between the world's two largest trading entities would add 0.5 percent to the EU economy every year.
“It's a boost to our economies that does not cost a cent,” he added, adding that after previous stumbling blocks, both sides were now ready for a deal.
The groundwork for a deal was done by a bilateral, high-level working group, which laid out the justification and mapped out the framework for a deal in a report released Wednesday.
The proposed pact would:
— eliminate tariffs on goods trade.
— eliminate or reduce barriers to trade in goods, services and investment.
— harmonize regulations and standards which can hinder transatlantic trade and investment.
— remove or reduce things like a government's support for its state enterprises and preferences for locally produced goods and services.
— tie health issues linked to trade, such as biotechnology, sanitation and genetically modified organisms, to accepted, science-based standards.
The proposed pact would also adapt to address new challenges to trade and investment flows that arise as the global economy and technology advance, the working group said.
Such a deal would “further strengthen the extraordinarily close strategic partnership between the United States and Europe,” it said.