At G8: EU, US Kick Off Bilateral Trade Negotiations

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By Monika Ermert for Intellectual Property Watch

During day one of the Summit of the G8 countries at Lough Erne Golf Resort in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland today, President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and the President of the European Commission, Manuel Barroso, jointly announced the formal start of negotiations of the US-EU free trade agreement, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Obama announced that the United States would host the first round of official negotiations in July in Washington. Obama said: “There are going to be sensitivities on both sides, there are going to be politics on both sides,” and he expected governments would have to “occasionally intervene to break through some logjams.”

The Council of Ministers of the 27 EU member states after hours of debate Friday passed a mandate excluding the audiovisual content sector, a sensitive area for some EU member states, especially France. Cameron today touted the TTIP to be a “landmark deal” and the “biggest bilateral trade deal in history” and “once in a generation.”

It could add £100 billion pounds to the EU economy, £80 billion to the US economy and £85 billion to the rest of the world, Cameron said. A new study commissioned by the German Bertelsmann Foundation calculates long term growth of the GDP for the US (13.4 percent) and the EU member states (UK around 10 percent, Germany 4.7 percent, France 2.6 percent). Losers according to the study would be the traditional trade partners of the US (Canada 9.5 percent, Mexico 7.2 percent, Japan 6 percent), and also developing countries in Africa and Central Asia.

The study (in German) is available here.

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