The economies of the European Union and the United States are the largest in the world. A free trade agreement between the two would create the largest free trade bloc in history. Reuters‘ journalist Philip Blenkinsop reports that European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom suggests a deal could be done by the end of this year. He writes:
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union is ready to starts talks on a trade agreement with the United States and could conclude a deal before the end of the year, European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said on Monday.
Malmstrom spoke after EU countries approved two negotiating mandates proposed by the European Commission. Of the 28 EU countries, only France voted against, while Belgium abstained.
The Commission will start two sets of negotiations — one to cut tariffs on industrial goods, the other to make it easier for companies to show products meet EU or U.S. standards. It needed backing from the EU member states to do so.
Malmstrom said she would now reach out to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to see when talks could begin.
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