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U.S.-EU Trade Talks to Begin Week of July 8
June 18, 2013

From right to left, U.K. Prime Minister Cameron, European Commission President Barroso, President Obama and European Council President Van Rompuy all expressed hopes for the success of trade talks.

By Stephen Kaufman
IIP Staff Writer
June 17, 2013

President Obama and European leaders said negotiations for a new trade agreement known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) will begin in Washington in early July. The talks are aimed at deepening the economic relationship between the United States and the European Union (EU).

Speaking in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, June 17 on the sidelines of the Group of Eight (G8) summit, Obama said the U.S.-EU relationship is already the largest in the world, encompassing nearly half of the global gross domestic product and totaling about $1 trillion in goods and services and nearly $4 trillion in investment in each other’s economies every year.

“This potentially groundbreaking partnership would deepen those ties. It would increase exports, decrease barriers to trade and investment. As part of broader growth strategies in both our economies, it would support hundreds of thousands of jobs on both sides of the ocean,” the president said.

According to a June 17 fact sheet from the White House, the first round of T-TIP negotiations will take place the week of July 8 under the leadership of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

Along with helping to increase trade and investment levels between the U.S. and the EU, the agreement would eliminate all tariffs on trade, as well as address “behind the border” nontariff trade barriers impeding the flow of trade goods, including agricultural products.

The fact sheet said the agreement would also promote greater compatibility, transparency and cooperation, while maintaining high levels of health, safety and environmental protection.

The T-TIP can also serve to develop rules, principles and ways to cooperate on issues of global concern such as intellectual property rights protection, how to address state-owned enterprises and discriminatory localization barriers to trade, the fact sheet said.

Joining the president in a press appearance in Lough Erne were G8 summit host David Cameron, prime minister of the United Kingdom; José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission; and Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council.

Barroso said the T-TIP would benefit not only Europeans and Americans but the rest of the world as well.

“Given the integrated supply chains in today’s global markets, everyone can benefit from this agreement,” he said.

Through the negotiations, the United States and the EU are writing “the next chapter of what is our common history, also forged by the sense that we share the same principles and values, the principles and values of open economies and open societies,” Barroso said.

Van Rompuy said opening up trade between Europe and the United States is “simply common sense.”

“Not just our own economies, but also those of our trading partners will benefit. The positive ramifications will even go beyond the economy as such,” he said, adding that as the global economy becomes more interdependent the world will become safer.

Cameron said the deal could add as much as $157 billion to the EU economy, $127 billion to the U.S. economy and as much as $133 billion to economies in the rest of the world.

“We’re talking about what could be the biggest bilateral trade deal in history; a deal that will have a greater impact than all the other trade deals on the table put together,” he said.

In the coming negotiations, both sides need to maintain the political will to overcome their differences. “This is a once-in-a-generation prize and we are determined to seize it,” Cameron said.