Trade talks in Washington get underway

  • 2013-07-10
  • From wire reports

VILNIUS - The first round of the EU-U.S. trade talks began on July 8, in Washington D.C., and will continue until Friday, reports ELTA. “We are glad that the beginning of the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the EU will be marked by an event that is very significant for the global economy. If the negotiations are successful, not just the growth of economy and new jobs will be fostered, but they will also have a positive impact on the development of global trade rules and standards,” said Linas Linkevicius, the minister of Foreign Affairs.

About 150 negotiators in 24 working groups, including working groups on the opening of the market for agricultural products, energy and raw materials, competition, services, public procurement, customs and trade facilitation, rules of origin, and veterinary measures are ready to enter negotiations.

The EU and U.S. have spent the past year preparing for the free trade agreement negotiations. The bilateral EU-U.S. High Level Working Group was specially set up to explore the opportunities and benefits that would result from such an agreement. At the beginning of 2013, the EU-U.S. High Level Working Group recommended that negotiations should aim for a comprehensive trade and investment agreement and seek to achieve ambitious outcomes in three broad areas: a) market access; b) regulatory issues and non-tariff barriers; and c) rules, principles, and new modes of cooperation to address shared global trade challenges and opportunities.

On June 14, the EU member states adopted the decision on the negotiating directives (mandates), which allowed the European Commission to conduct the negotiations with the U.S., and on June 17 the EU and the U.S. announced the official start of these negotiations.

The European Commission estimates that the conclusion of such an agreement between the EU and the U.S. would bring an overall annual increase of 0.5 percent in GDP for the EU. The EU exports of goods and services to the U.S. would go up by 28 percent (equivalent to $187 billion). The EU would receive additional income of $119 billion a year.