Tuesday

17th Oct 2017

2015 target date for EU-US trade deal

  • De Gucht: 'More paramount than speed is achieving an ambitious deal' (Photo: wikipedia)

EU and US negotiators want to have a transatlantic trade and investment deal in place by 2015, but French politicians are wary of the pact.

Hours after US President Barack Obama unveiled plans for talks aimed at a bilateral pact worth up to €86 billion per year, EU trade commissioner Karel de Gucht told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday (13 February): "We'd like to complete this work in about two years from now."

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

De Gucht, who will lead the EU's negotiating team, noted that "more paramount than speed is achieving an ambitious deal," however.

For his part, commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said "a future deal between the world's two most important economic powers will be a game-changer."

He added that "it's a boost to our economies that does not cost a cent."

A joint EU-US statement said that talks would "contribute to the development of global rules that can strengthen the multilateral trading system."

The EU and US already account for 47 percent of the world's GDP and one third of global trade flows, according to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), with €2 billion of goods and services traded bilaterally every day.

A flavour of what the two sides want to achieve is spelt out in the final report of the EU-US so-called High Level Working Group, published on Monday (11 February).

The first goal of the group, led by De Gucht and US trade representative Ron Kirk, is to "eliminate all duties on bilateral trade" and to liberalise the services sector. Average tariffs are currently worth 5.2 percent for the EU and 3.5 percent for the US.

The deal is likely to go beyond eliminating tariff barriers.

The working group said there is also a need to tackle "behind-the-border" obstacles to trade through "harmonization of future regulations, and....mutual recognition" of technical standards.

De Gucht estimated that differing standards and regulations are currently "equivalent to slapping a traditional tariff on a product of between 10 and 20 percent."

The two sides are keen to fill a void left by the collapse of the Doha round of talks at WTO-level in 2008.

One priority is to agree standards on intellectual property rights and environmental and employment protection.

Both sides need the approval of domestic legislators before the start of formal talks.

The EU needs the backing of all 27 national assemblies.

French trade minister Nicole Bricq on Wednesday (13 February) warned that the governing Socialist party would only support a deal that "respects our values, Europe's cultural vision, our agricultural model and which will facilitate progress in ecological and energy matters."

France - which shot down previous attempts to agree an EU-US trade accord in 1998 - will decide whether to back the talks on 1 March, Bricq noted.

The final agreement will also have to be ratified by EU member states and by a final vote of consent by MEPs in the European Parliament.

Last year, MEPs used new powers by vetoing the global anti-counterfeit treaty Acta - the first time that euro-deputies rejected an international pact negotiated by the EU executive.

EU edges toward Canada free trade deal

EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht will meet Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper as the EU executive steps up its bid to secure the latest in a series of lucrative free trade agreements.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  2. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  3. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  4. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  5. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  6. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!
  7. ILGA-EuropeHealth4LGBTI: Reducing Health Inequalities Experienced by LGBTI People
  8. EU2017EEEHealth: A Tool for More Equal Health
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism a Key Driver for Job Creation and Enhanced Competitiveness
  10. CECENon-Harmonised Homologation of Mobile Machinery Costs € 90 Million per Year
  11. ILGA-EuropeMass Detention of Azeri LGBTI People - the LGBTI Community Urgently Needs Your Support
  12. European Free AllianceCatalans Have Won the Right to Have an Independent State

Latest News

  1. Malta shocked after car bomb kills crusading journalist
  2. Spanish and Catalan leaders continue stand-off
  3. May pleads for more as EU makes Brexit gesture
  4. EU united in backing Iran deal, after Trump criticisms
  5. 'Think of the patients!' cry warring EMA-host cities
  6. In Iceland: Europe woos Arctic allies
  7. Austrian voters reject liberal pro-EU status quo
  8. Turkey urges EU not to break off ties