U.S., E.U. to start free trade deal negotiations

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Brussels, Belgium (4E) – The European Union and the United States will start formal negotiations for a free trade agreement, according to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

A finalized Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will boost U.S. exports to Europe and support American jobs, President Barack Obama said in his State of the Union address.

Barroso said it will grow EU’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 0.5 percent while the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the free trade will add $180 billion to the U.S. GDP in the next five years.

U.S.-E.U. trade is currently worth $5 trillion per year or one-third of the global trade. The U.S. goods and services exported to its largest trade partner amounts to $459 billion and support 2.4 million U.S. jobs. Combined investments by both sides amount to $4 trillion and support 7 million jobs.

EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said negotiations on the dismantling of remaining trade tariffs as well as lifting of regulatory and certification barriers will start by the end of June.

Exploratory talks on the TTIP started in November 2011 following the U.S.-E.U. Summit.

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