EU leaders throw weight behind US trade talks

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Series Details 08.02.13
Publication Date 08/02/2013
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Report states that in the Presidency Conclusions adopted at the European Council, Brussels, 7-8 February 2013 EU Member State governments reiterated its support for a comprehensive trade agreement with the United States of America which should pay particular attention to ways to achieve greater transatlantic regulatory convergence, alongside similar bilateral trade agreements with Canada and Japan.

In his State of the Union speech given on the 12 February 2013 US President Barack Obama gave the green light for comprehensive trade talks between the EU and the US, paving the way for what could become the largest single free trade zone in the world.

On the 13 February 2013 both the EU and US announced that they had decided to take their economic relationship to a higher level by agreeing to launch negotiations for a comprehensive trade and investment agreement. When negotiations were completed, this EU-US agreement would be the biggest bilateral trade deal ever negotiated – and it could add 0.5% to the EU's annual economic output.

In a joint statement, President of the United States of America Barack Obama, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy stressed that 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.

However, French trade minister Nicole Bricq warned on the 13 February 2013 that the governing Socialist party in France would only support a deal that 'respects our values, Europe's cultural vision, our agricultural model and which will facilitate progress in ecological and energy matters.'

On the 12 March 2013, the European Commission recommended that EU member states authorise the launch of negotiations for a transatlantic trade and investment agreement.

Any final agreement will also have to be ratified by EU member states governments and by a final vote of consent by the European Parliament.

On the 23 May 2013, EurActiv reported that MEPs were expected to vote on a hard-fought resolution to back the launch of negotiations on the Transatlantic trade agreement, following an impassioned debate in the European Parliament.

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Related Links
ESO: Background information: EU renews call for US trade pact
European Commission: DG Trade: Policy: Countries and regions: United States
European Council: Press Release, EUCO 3/13: European Council, 7-8 February 2013: Presidency Conclusions
EUObserver, 13.02.13: Obama gives green light to EU-US trade deal
EurActiv, 13.02.13: Obama calls for start of 'comprehensive' trade talks with EU
BBC News, 13.02.13: EU and US free-trade talks launched
European Commission: RAPID: MEMO/13/96: Remarks by EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership
European Commission: RAPID: MEMO/13/95: European Union and United States to launch negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership
European Commission: RAPID: MEMO/13/94: Statement from United States President Barack Obama, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso
European Commission: DG Trade: Final Report: High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth, February 2013
USTR: Final Report of the U.S.-EU High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth, February 2013
EurActiv, 13.02.13: EU, US clear way for game-changing trade deal
EUObserver, 14.02.2013: 2015 target date for EU-US trade deal
Welt am Sonntag, 13.02.13: Why the EU should not get into bed with the US over trade (via PressEurop)
European Parliament: Press Release, 21.02.13: MEPs excited at prospect of EU-US trade talks but warn of difficulties ahead
EurActiv, 13.03.13: Europe fires starting gun for EU-US trade talks
Blog: Public Service Europe, 13.03.13: Study reveals 'huge gains' from EU-US trade deal
EUObserver, 18.03.13: Transatlantic Partnership requires open democratic debate
EurActiv, 20.03.13: France draws red lines for EU-US free trade negotiations
EurActiv, 21.03.13: White House clears way for start of trade talks with EU
Les Echos, 21.03.13: Free-trade zone no longer a dream machine (via PressEurop)
Blog: The Worden Report, 26.03.13: Keeping the Free Trade in Free Trade: France in the E.U.
EurActiv, 23.05.13: MEPs give a conditional go-ahead to EU-US trade talks

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