US and EU to begin formal free trade pact talks

14 February 2013

Officials from the US and the European Union (EU) are set to begin formal discussions over the establishment of a free trade pact, it has been confirmed.

During his annual State of the Union address delivered on Tuesday (12 February), Barack Obama revealed his intention to launch talks on a "comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the EU".

The president explained that "free and fair trade across the Atlantic" helps sustain millions of jobs in America, meaning that strengthening the relationship between the two largest economies in the world - which is currently worth around $613 annually - would benefit both the US and EU.

And, in a speech given in Brussels yesterday, Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, said that discussions over a potentially "game changing" deal are imminent.

"The sooner we start, the sooner we can reach a successful conclusion and put in place the biggest bilateral trade deal ever negotiated," he noted.

By Tony Aynsley

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