Monday, March 10, 2014
David McHugh and Shawn Pogatchnik / The Associated Press
ENNISKILLEN, Northern Ireland — Talks on a sweeping trade deal between the European Union and the United States are to get underway in Washington next month, President Barack Obama and top European Union officials said Monday.
From right, Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, U.S. President Barack Obama and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy attend a media conference regarding EU-US trade at the G-8 summit in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, on Monday.
"The EU-US relationship is the biggest in the world," Obama said after meeting with European leaders at the G-8 summit in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, citing roughly the $1 trillion in trade in goods and services between the two every year.
"This potentially ground-breaking partnership would deepen those ties."
The head of the EU's executive arm, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, said a deal could bring "huge economic benefits" to both sides.
Summit host British Prime Minister David Cameron said the trade pact could create 2 million jobs.
The aim of the trans-Atlantic deal would be to promote economic growth by cutting the import tariffs and changing regulations that keep goods made on one side of the Atlantic from being sold on the other side.
Officials have said a deal could be reached next year. But securing one will be tricky. The talks will be watched warily by interest groups and would have to be approved by each side's lawmakers and leaders before the new trade arrangements are introduced.
The EU has already yielded to a demand from France to exempt the TV and movie industries from the talks. Barroso said the exception for movies and TV shows could be revisited later. Meanwhile, US labor officials have also expressed skepticism.