At the G-8 summit in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, President Barack Obama, together with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron, announced that the United States and the European Union will start negotiations on a landmark trade agreement – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or T-TIP.
The first round of negotiations will take place the week of July 8 in Washington, under the leadership of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
At the announcement, President Obama noted that the U.S. – EU trade relationship is already the largest in the world, making up nearly half of global GDP.
The U.S. and the E.U. trade about one trillion dollars in goods and services each year, and invest nearly four trillion in each other’s economies – supporting 13 million jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.
I believe we can forge an economic alliance as strong as our diplomatic and security alliances..."
“This potentially groundbreaking partnership would deepen those ties,” said Mr. Obama. “It would increase exports, decrease barriers to trade and investment. As part of broader growth strategies in both our economies, it would support hundreds of thousands of jobs on both side of the ocean.”
President Obama said that the upcoming negotiations have garnered broad support in the European Union and the United States. That broad support will help both sides work through the tough issues, sensitivities, and inevitable politics that are sure to arise.
“But,” he said, “if we can look beyond the narrow concerns to stay focused on the big picture – the economic and strategic importance of this partnership – I’m hopeful we can achieve the kind of high-standard, comprehensive agreement that the global trading system is looking to us to develop.”
“America and Europe have done extraordinary things together before,” said President Obama. ”I believe we can forge an economic alliance as strong as our diplomatic and security alliances – which, of course, have been the most powerful in history.”
Mr. Obama also said that while the T-TIP agreement is a priority for the United States, it is important for both sides to make sure that it’s part of an overall plan to do what it takes to promote growth and jobs.
“Trade is critical but it is not alone a silver bullet,” said President Obama; “it has to be part of a comprehensive strategy that we pursue on both sides of the Atlantic. That’s what our people deserve.”