Monday 23 October 2017

Bruton pushes for EU deal on trade with US

Colm Kelpie Brussels

MORE must be done to fully exploit the potential of the economic and business relationship between the US and EU, Jobs Minister Richard Bruton has told MEPs.

Ireland is hopeful that it can secure a negotiating mandate for an EU-US trade agreement under its six-month EU presidency.

Any potential trade deal would be regarded as hugely important as the EU and the US economies account together for about half the entire world's economic output and for nearly a third of world trade flows.

In one of several European Parliament committees that were being addressed by Irish ministers, Mr Bruton said that while transatlantic markets are deeply integrated through large flows of trade and investment, more needs to be done.

"The potential gain in both jobs and economic activity is too attractive not to make it a success," he said.

"It would also send a strong signal that, even in times of serious economic difficulty, both economies are prepared to push ahead with extending and opening markets rather than protecting them."

An informal trade council is being held in Dublin in April in a bid to help push along discussions.

Total US investment in the EU is three times higher than in all of Asia, while EU investment in the US is around eight times the amount of EU investment in India and China together.

EU-US trade climbed to $636bn (€757bn) in 2011, 14pc more than the previous year, according to the US Department of Commerce.

Mr Bruton also told the International Trade Committee that he hopes negotiations on a trade agreement with Japan could also be advanced, and progress made on negotiations with India.

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