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Progress made on new EU-US Trade Agreement at EU Trade Informal

18.04.2013, 14:30 GMT


US Trade Advisor Froman and EU Trade Ministers address key trade issues

EU Trade Ministers are closer to reaching the common position required to start negotiations on a new EU-US Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement, according to Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, current chair of the Trade Council of Ministers. The Minister has set a date of end-June for final agreement on the mandate to start talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

EU Trade Ministers were today meeting in Dublin at an informal meeting of the EU’s Trade Council to discuss key international trade issues. Among the items discussed were the future leadership of the World Trade Organisation and the proposed Transatlantic Trade Partnership between the EU and the US.

The event was also attended by EU Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht and International Trade Advisor to the US President, Mike Froman. This is the first time a representative of the US Administration has discussed EU-US trade relations directly with EU Trade Ministers.

A major new study published in March says EU exports to the US would increase by 28%, or €187 billion, each year as a result of the increased trade from a new EU-US Trade Agreement. An agreement between the two economic blocs would also increase global trade. This would produce an additional 6% growth in exports for the EU, bringing the total benefit to the EU of a new trade agreement to €220 billion.

According to assessments made by the EU Commission and other European bodies, a comprehensive Trade and Investment Partnership could over time boost EU GDP by 0.5% annually and help create approximately 400,000 jobs in the EU.

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will extend beyond the removal of tariffs, to include the opening of 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.

Minister Bruton commented: “I’m delighted to say real progress towards achieving an agreement among Ministers has been made at this Trade Informal in Dublin. This agreement is a crucial part in the process of starting negotiations on a new EU-US Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement.”

“I am aiming to secure agreement on the EU mandate before the end of the Irish Presidency in June. I look forward to continuing to work with my Ministerial counterparts from across the EU to deliver on this important piece of work.”

“The Irish Presidency has prioritised stability, growth and jobs. A new trade deal has the potential to provide a real boost to economic growth and job creation, without the need for increased expenditure by Governments. That is why I am working hard to move this process forward.”

“There is also huge potential for the EU and Ireland in the conclusion of new trade agreements with Canada and in the longer term with Japan. We are also extending the reach of the EU’s new trade agreements in key Asian markets where trade talks are underway with fast growing economies such as Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia.”

“I want to warmly thank the US Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs Mike Froman for attending the Trade Council Informal in Dublin. It provided a very valuable opportunity for EU Trade Ministers to hear first-hand the approach the US side proposes to take. It also allowed him to see the support among Member States for a far-reaching trade agreement.”

In a first for the EU, a key figure from President Obama's administration in Washington, Mike Froman, Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs, met with EU Ministers to discuss the issues around a new EU-US Free Trade Agreement.

It followed a series of high level meetings by Minister Bruton in Washington in March with key figures in President Obama's administration including Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs Mike Froman and USTR Ambassador Kirk. EU Trade Ministers must reach agreement on a draft negotiating mandate before the European Commission can start negotiations with the US Administration.

ENDS

 

NOTES FOR EDITORS

During the Irish Presidency of the Council of the EU, Minister Bruton is responsible for chairing or co-chairing meetings of the Trade, Competitiveness and EPSCO (Employment and Social Policy) Councils.

As well as chairing five formal Councils, Minister Bruton is involved in hosting three Informal Ministerial Council meetings in Dublin during the Presidency. The EPSCO Informal was held in February and the Competitiveness Council Informal will take place on 1-3 May.

An EU-US trade agreement will represent an “invaluable boost” for Irish and EU exporters and workers, according to an OpEd by Minister Bruton published this week.

For more on the Irish Presidency priorities on trade, see the Presidency programme.

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