Thursday, February 14 08:47:31
The prospects of a deal between the EU and the US on further measures to encourage trade could have a huge impact on world trade and economic activity. "This is potentially a very big deal," Mike Froman, President Obama's adviser on international economic issues, said yesterday after Obama announced in his State of the Union address on Tuesday that he would pursue a "comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership."
With negotiations well advanced on an agreement among Asian and Pacific rim nations, the president has committed to an ambitious discussion with the country's original and mostly deeply integrated trading partners - nations such as the United Kingdom and Germany that share strong cultural and political ties with the US.
The talks come at a time of economic unease in the developed world. Europe is stuck in recession, and despite modest growth in the United States unemployment remains high and export growth has slowed. Europe and the United States have frequently debated ways to streamline commerce between the two sides. That has sometimes produced breakthroughs over such issues as jointly accepted certification of civilian aircraft but has more often stalled in bickering or earnest philosophic divisions.
The Irish presidency of the EU has targeted progress on discussions with the US as a key measure of its effectiveness in the role and so far so good for that particular target.
Report by Cathal O Dubhain