Bruton to hold talks in US on trade deal
ENTERPRISE Minister Richard Bruton is meeting key figures in US President Barack Obama's administration in Washington today as part of efforts pushing for a landmark EU-US free trade deal.
Brussels and Washington are on track to launch negotiations after agreement was reached to press ahead last month.
A potential trade agreement is regarded as hugely important as the EU and the US economies together account for about half the entire world's economic output and for nearly a third of world trade flows.
Mr Bruton, pictured, will hold talks with senior figures including Ron Kirk, the US trade representative, and Mike Froman, deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs.
The meetings follow the conclusion of a trade mission involving 40 companies to Texas, led by Mr Bruton.
The minister said a trade deal would have the potential to boost economic activity on each side of the Atlantic by about 0.5pc annually.
"US firms contribute over €3bn annually to the Irish Exchequer in taxes and an additional €14bn to the Irish economy in expenditure on payrolls, goods and services," he said.
Ireland's exporters would also stand to benefit by more than €100m per year, he added.
Mr Obama endorsed the talks while EU leaders have also backed the plan, hoping a deal will help Europe pull out of its debt crisis.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will extend beyond the removal of tariffs, to include the opening of markets on investment, services and public procurement.
The issue will be discussed at a meeting for EU trade ministers in Dublin in April.