EU-US free trade talks get go-ahead

13 February 2013

The European Union and the United States have agreed to talks on a free trade alliance.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso says they should be able to start discussions by the end of June on bringing down trading barriers.

It would be the most ambitious free trade deal ever attempted, covering half the world’s economic output and a third of global trade flows.

“These negotiations will set a standard, not only for our future bilateral trade and investment, including regulatory issues, but also for the development of global trade rules,” Barroso told a news conference.

He spoke after President Barack Obama announced US support for talks during his annual State of the Union address to Congress.

The EU estimates such an agreement would boost its annual GDP growth by 0.5 percent.

A joint US/EU report recommending the start of talks sees the US economy gaining around 0.4 percent by 2027, with 86 billion euros ($115.80 billion) of added annual income for the former and 65 billion euros for the latter.

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