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US and EU agree to launch ambitious free-trade negotiations in Washington in July

Tuesday, June 18th 2013 - 02:28 UTC
Full article 4 comments
Leaders of EU and President Obama make the announcement at Enniskillen Leaders of EU and President Obama make the announcement at Enniskillen
 Group of Eight summit near Enniskillen Group of Eight summit near Enniskillen

The United States and European Union launched negotiations on one of the world's most ambitious free-trade agreements on Monday, promising thousands of jobs and speedier growth on both sides of the Atlantic.

Such a plan was first considered three decades ago but knocked down by France in the 1990s. Europe has now managed to get Paris onside, opening the way to a deal that could boost the EU and US economies by more than 100 billion dollars a year each.

“This is a once in a generation prize and we are determined to seize it,” said British Prime Minister David Cameron, flanked by US President Barack Obama and the presidents of the European Commission and the European Council at the Group of Eight summit near Enniskillen in Northern Ireland.

The first round of negotiations will take place in Washington on July 8, the White House said in a statement.

The United States and Europe account for almost half of the world's total output and a third of its trade. A free-trade deal therefore holds the prospect of massive economic gains and accompanying jobs.

While both the US and EU negotiators are aware that a final deal will be tough to clinch, they are also conscious of the rising power and influence of China and the need to deepen Western economic integration in order to compete with Asia.

Issues over media protection and “cultural exception” could still complicate negotiations.

France had threatened to block the start of talks until the EU's other 26 governments accepted its demand to shield movies and online entertainment from competition from Hollywood and Silicon Valley.

Paris eventually won its exception, but Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, said on Monday opposition to a fully comprehensive trade deal was “reactionary” and part of an anti-globalization agenda.

That sparked a stern response from French President Francois Hollande and other French officials, underlining just how sensitive negotiations over the coming 18 months are set to be.

Obama also warned against narrowing the scope of negotiations.

“It is important that we get it right and that means resisting the temptation to downsize our ambitions or avoid tough issues just for the sake of getting a deal,” he said.
 

Categories: Economy, Politics, International.

Top Comments

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  • Fido Dido

    Politicians promising thousands of jobs and speedier growth on both sides of the Atlantic?

    I've heard this story over and over again and when are people going to understand that liars won't and cannot stop lying.

    “This is a once in a generation prize and we are determined to seize it,”

    Yeah uhuh, don't let a “crisis” (which is engineerd) go wasted. While the majority of the population in both regions are drunk on the kool-aid, they will continue to rob us infront of our eyes with their bogus “free trade nonsene”. It's not for us, it's for the corporations to keep us in “slavelandia” and keep us working harder and harder for less = effecient productivity. How wonderful.

    Jun 18th, 2013 - 03:48 am 0
  • Troy Tempest

    “Rob” you??

    How will their FTA result in YOU being robbed?

    You won't be involved.

    Nobody is going to trade with Argentina - you'll be left out :-(

    Jun 18th, 2013 - 04:46 am 0
  • Captain Poppy

    ”Yeah uhuh, don't let a “crisis” (which is engineerd) go wasted.”

    I think this troll has a serious conspiracy problem coupled with the desire to be an American or European. Don't confuse greed and lack of oversight with conspiracy. This is up there with:

    hitler lived
    JFK was killed by the CIA
    Man never landed on the moon

    and...and. When it affects your country chime in ficking dildo. Meanwhile be a good dildo and park in your asshole.

    Jun 18th, 2013 - 10:00 am 0
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