Richard Bruton, the Irish Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, is in Washington today to meet with senior Obama administration officials to generate momentum for a free trade agreement between the European Union and the United States.
Bruton will meet with Ron Kirk, the outgoing U.S. trade representative, and Mike Froman, an international economic affairs advisor.
For Bruton, a free-trade agreement between the two nations will generate 100 billion euros annually, boosting trade for both partners by 0.5 percent each year.
"The Irish presidency of the EU is prioritizing stability, jobs and growth," Bruton said in a statement. "A new trade deal has the potential to provide a real boost to economic growth and job creation.
Officials from the European Union and United States agreed in mid-February to start negotiations toward a free-trade agreement, eyeing a start date of 2015. Among other things, the pact will harmonize product standards and trade rules, eliminating regulatory differences. Market access and new levels of cooperation will also be discussed in addition to the removal of tariffs. These tariffs are currently low, with the World Trade Organization estimating they're an average of 5.2 percent for the European Union and 3.5 percent for the United States, but the removal of such fees would increase trade.
Bruton is also looking ahead to next month, when he will hold a meeting about the free trade agreement for EU trade ministers.
"If I can help forge agreement between Europe’s trade ministers on a common position, this will give the European Commission the mandate required to open negotiations with their U.S. counterparts on a new deal," he said. - Jon Ross