Gilmore hails US-Europe relations
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore has hailed a new phase in Europe's economic relations with the United States.
The foreign affairs minister insisted Ireland would make the most of its close relationship with the US after President Barack Obama revealed he is to launch talks on a comprehensive trade agreement with the European Union.
"Securing a negotiating mandate for a comprehensive free-trade agreement with the US was a top priority for the Government when we established the jobs and growth agenda for the Irish presidency of the EU," Mr Gilmore said.
"Coming on the back of last week's agreement on the multi-annual financial framework, where the EU made significant progress on its own governance, this now opens up enormous untapped potential for a new phase in Europe's economic relations with the US."
Mr Obama made the announcement during his annual state of the union address on Tuesday night when he called for a comprehensive transatlantic trade and investment partnership.
The partnership could eventually boost business in Ireland and create jobs in the US.
The Tanaiste said the negotiations would begin during Ireland's term as EU president.
"And we will of course make the most of Ireland's close relationship with the US to get talks off to a good start," Mr Gilmore said.
"I look forward to engaging in constructive dialogue with our US colleagues as we begin working on this together."
In the first state of the union speech of his second term as US president, Mr Obama said his focus would be jobs, growth and boosting trade. However, he also called for tougher controls on the country's controversial gun laws.