Liberal Democrats in the European Parliament today welcomed the interim report of the EU-USA High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth and urged both parties to launch a free trade agreement as soon as possible.
The interim report concludes that a ‘comprehensive transatlantic trade and investment agreement’ is the best option for supporting jobs and promoting growth and competitiveness across theAtlantic. Such an agreement could have huge benefits for the British economy, and the US Chamber of Commerce has estimated that the elimination of import tariffs alone would raise EU-US GDP by $180 billion.
Catherine Bearder MEP, Lib Dem EU spokesperson for international trade, commented:
“I call on the European Commission and their American counterparts to launch negotiations for a free trade agreement as soon as possible.
“As the UK and other EU countries are struggling to find the jobs and growth that our citizens so badly need, we have to look for new ways to stimulate our economy and increase our competitiveness.
“Key to this is trade with non-EU countries through launching free trade agreements. The World Trade Organisation’s negotiations to find a global agreement have come to a halt; we now need to urgently look at a post-Doha agenda to free up trade potential.”
The UKhas exceptionally strong trade relations with theUSA. In 2009, the UK-US trade in goods and services alone was $184 billion or roughly £118 billion, representing 22% of total EU-US trade that year.
Ms Bearder added:
“The potential benefits for the UK are clear: if we can remove the remaining import tariffs, break-down regulatory barriers and increase access in investment and services, this could be a game-changer for our economy.”
Note to editors:
Please find below the links to:
- the Interim Report to Leaders from the Co-Chairs EU-U.S.High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth:
- the statement by Commissioner De Gucht on the interim report: