European Union and United States to launch negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership
EU News 71/2013
13 February 2013
The EU and US have decided to take their economic relationship to a higher level by agreeing to launch negotiations for a comprehensive trade and investment agreement. When negotiations are 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 (MEMO/13/94), 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.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will aim to go beyond the classic approach of removing tariffs and opening markets on investment, services and public procurement. In addition, it will focus on aligning rules and technical product standards which currently form the most important barrier to transatlantic trade. Studies show that the additional cost burden due to such regulatory differences is equivalent to a tariff of more than 10%, and even 20% for some sectors, whereas classic tariffs are at around 4%.
The decision follows last week's discussions between EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and Unites States Trade Representative Ron Kirk in Washington DC. Chairing the "High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth", created in November 2011, they finalised a report recommending the launch of negotiations of a comprehensive trade and investment agreement between the European Union and the United States of America.