Bloomberg News

EU-U.S. Trade Deal to Help Battle Crisis, De Gucht Says

April 15, 2013

A trade alliance between the U.S. and the European Union would give a lift to both economies and help them recover from the economic crisis, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said.

“Truly, this is the cheapest stimulus package you can imagine,” De Gucht wrote today in an article in Parliament Magazine. “Given that both Europe and America are recovering from the biggest economic crisis in living memory, we cannot afford to ignore these gains.”

De Gucht estimated that a EU-U.S. trade alliance “could boost our economies by between 0.5 percent and 1 percent of GDP, or 119 billion euros ($156 billion) annually once implemented.” Such an alliance also “would have a positive impact on worldwide trade and incomes, increasing global revenue by almost 100 billion euros,” he said in the article.

President Barack Obama promised in February to pursue a trade agreement with the EU, and De Gucht aims to complete the talks within two years. The two sides will seek a “living agreement” that establishes a mechanism for further economic integration, European Commission PresidentJose Barroso said on April 12 in New York.

Europe’s debt crisis has forced the 27-nation bloc to revise policies and public finances and to strengthen the economic and monetary union “in a way that we were unable -- in some cases unwilling -- to do before,” Barroso said. The trade talks with the U.S. will begin by this summer, he said.

The two sides have been at odds over issues such as regulatory standards, farm subsidies and health protections. The negotiations will not undermine essential safeguards for health and the environment, Barroso said.

Trade and investment between the EU and the U.S. totaled $4.5 trillion in 2011, according to the U.S.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jones Hayden in Brussels at jhayden1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net


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