FTA talks with US may start in 2013, say summiteers
By Joanna Sopinska | Friday 29 June 2012
In rather a surprising move, the member states’ leaders, during the European Council on 28-29 June in Brussels, identified 2013 as the potential date for launching negotiations with the US on a “comprehensive transatlantic trade and investment agreement”. In a sentence added to the draft Council conclusions during the last day of the meeting, they “committed” themselves to “working towards the goal of launching, in 2013, of negotiations” with the White House on an ambitious trade and investment deal. According to the European Commission’s report on external trade submitted to the European Council meeting, new agreements with the US and Japan could bring “two-thirds of the economic gains” from increased trade cooperation with third countries (see
The EU statement came after the publication last week of an interim report by the EU-US High-Level Working Group on Growth and Jobs, which found that a broad, comprehensive bilateral agreement was the option with the “greatest potential” for supporting jobs and spurring economic growth on both sides of the Atlantic. While making no firm commitments, EU and US leaders welcomed the report. They acknowledged that such an initiative could be key to strengthening growth and creating jobs.
The Union’s announcement of the possible date for the launch of negotiations with the White House came before the publication of the final report of the EU-US High-Level Working Group, expected later this year. The document is supposed to make recommendations to leaders on whether to start talks on some kind of EU-US free trade agreement (FTA). The Council conclusions said the EU leaders were “looking forward” to these recommendations.
The conclusions also said that free trade negotiations with Canada and Singapore “should be finalised by the end of the year”.