EU coordinates negotiating position for free trade talks with the USA
On 12 March 2013 the European Commission in Brussels agreed on a draft mandate for negotiations with the USA about the planned transatlantic free trade agreement. Now the EU member states have to approve the draft in the European Council. Then the negotiations can begin. EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht explained the subsequent schedule: "I am very pleased that the European Commission has already prepared a draft mandate for future negotiations, just one month after the EU and the USA announced the decision to pursue this revolutionary trade agreement. I hope that the approval of the member states is going to follow quickly, so that working with the United States can begin even before the summer break."
US President Barack Obama, EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso and EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy jointly announced one month ago that they want to start preparations promptly for a common trade agreement. The EU Commission stated that the negotiations would be conducted based on the work of the "high-ranking EU-USA workgroup on growth and employment" under the joint chairmanship of EU Commissioner De Gucht and US Trade Representative Ron Kirk.
Currently the EU and USA account for 40 percent of the global economic output between them. According to an EU Commission report, the intended trade and investment partnership could increase EU exports to the USA by 28 percent. Converted to a family of four, trade liberalisation is expected to achieve an average increase in income of EUR 545.