New Approach for Transatlantic Free Trade

In his speech on 11 May 2012 before the American chamber of trade in Germany, the AmCham Germany in Hamburg, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht favoured the prompt commencement of negotiations regarding a comprehensive trade agreement with the USA.

De Gucht said the following before the AmCham Germany: "I suggest that we should commence negotiations at the start of the coming year, for a maximum of 18 months. Truly aspiring results will only be achieved with a comprehensive approach." The EU Commissioner is thereby joining the ranks of proponents of a bilateral transatlantic trade agreement.

They believe such an agreement would result in additional trade and therefore economic growth. Their request is driven by challenges that have emerged in multilateral world trade negotiations. The trend in favour of bilateral trade agreements is competing with the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which is now actually responsible for rules to govern world trade.

Goods and services valued at EUR 670 billion were already exchanged between the EU and the USA in 2010. This means it is currently the largest bilateral trade relationship worldwide. The jobs of 15 million people on both sides of the Atlantic are said to depend on this exchange.

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