The European Council approved the mandate of the European Commission to negotiate a new trade and investment agreement with the United States of America. Member States also set out their priorities in the field of trade and investment issues. The aim of new agreement is to promote and increase bilateral trade and investment and create a truly transatlantic free market place. This should be achieved by eliminating duties and other non-tariff restrictions for trade in goods and services as well as lowering regulatory divergence between the two partners.
An ambitious and comprehensive transatlantic trade and investment partnership could bring significant economic gains for the EU (€119 billion a year) and the US (€95 billion a year) once the agreement is fully implemented. The main elements of the negotiating directives are market access, regulatory convergence and trade rules addressing shared global challenges.
In the field of market access, elimination of tariffs is a crucial issue for both the EU and the US. Even though tariff barriers are currently relatively low, given the volume of bilateral trade, any elimination could provide new impetus for the transatlantic trade. Both sides should open their services sectors at least as much as they have done in other trade agreements to date.
The regulatory issues and non-tariff barriers is the area of the highest potential economic benefits of the future agreement. The goal of this trade deal is to reduce unnecessary costs and delays for companies, while maintaining high levels of health, safety, consumer and environmental protection. Finally, the new deal should address shared global trade challenges and opportunities, sucha s intellectual property rights, trade and sustainable development or trade transparency issues.
The negotiations will start as soon as the US partners are ready, which in practical terms means the upcoming weeks.
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8th January 2019
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