In what seems to be shaping up as the most ambitious and comprehensive trade agreement ever, the United States and European Union plan to start negotiating the deal
and to sign it by June.
President Barack Obama, in his State of the Union address, encouraged the US to enter negotiations on the new agreement with the 27 nations of the EU. The HYPERLINK “http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/13/us-eu-us-trade-idUSBRE91C0OC20130213” agreement, when up and running, is expected to stimulate the economies of both participants.
But the path to a mutually acceptable arrangement may not be smooth and many issues remain to be resolved. Among the sticking points is the EU’s refusal to import genetically changed foods.
Nevertheless, a far-ranging trade agreement should be coming soon, and when implemented it will cover half of the world output in goods and services and encompass one-third of all international trade.
Topping the list of discussion points are tariffs, which are expected to be cut; and various trade restrictions, which are expected to be eased or eliminated. Many of the major issues involve harmonizing regulations between the two economies.
EU product safety and standards regulations are generally stricter than those in the US, and it is possible that some businesses might object to the changes in the coming trade deal.
“This is a very big deal,” said Michael Froman, White House deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs.
The EU has a similar view.
“These negotiations will set a standard, not only for our future bilateral trade and investment, including regulatory issues, but also for the development of global trade rules,” said EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
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