EU and US launch free-trade negotiations

The European Union and the United States of America announced on Wednesday February 13 that the two powers are willing to start formal talks regarding a free-trade agreement, which would represent the biggest trade deal ever.

José Manuel Durão Barroso, President of the European Commission, made the joint announcement after President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech.

“It is difficult but we believe that a free trade agreement is possible and desirable for both parties,” Jose Manuel Barroso added during a press conference in Brussels.

According to Barroso, once established, this agreement may stimulate the European economy “bringing dozens of billions of euros per year, ensuring at the same time several jobs, and the best part is that this will not cost taxpayers a dime.”

This transatlantic deal aims to bring down trading barriers between the two biggest economies in the world.

EU-US trade is worth around €455 billion a year.

US President Barack Obama supported the free trade and added that such a deal would boost American exports, support American jobs and would allow them to compete with the growing markets of Asia.

In a statement, US and EU leaders pronounced that this transatlantic trade would generate millions of jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.

The EU and US average tariffs are already low, below 3%. However, further reductions would stimulate additional trade and there still are some areas where tariffs remain too high, notably food.