MEPs called for talks on a possible trade deal with the US to start in 2013

The European Parliament approved a resolution in which points out the huge potential for growth and jobs on both sides of the Atlantic but caution that the EU's interests must be protected, especially in the farm sector. The Parliament calls in the non-binding resolution for negotiations to begin in the first half of 2013.

MEPs adopted a resolution which calls for talks on a possible trade deal with the United States to start early next year. The resolution stressed that the EU and US have the largest economic relationship in the world with a trade volume of €700 billion and bilateral investment valued at almost €2.4 trillion in 2011. MEPs also highlighted that gross domestic product (GDP) in the EU and US could be boosted by €163 billion by 2018 if half the non-tariff barriers were removed. In July 2012, the European Commission announced its intention to ask Member States to open negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement with Japan.

However Parliament highlights the special needs of the EU farm sector, which exports high-quality produce to the US, and the need to agree on geographical indications. Other crucial EU concerns are GMOs, animal welfare, environmental and health standards, food safety, cultural diversity, labour and consumer rights and the restrictions on foreign ownership of US airlines.

The resolution is Parliament's input into the work of the High Level EU-US Working Group (HLWG) exploring the options for boosting jobs and growth on both sides of the Atlantic. If a deal is negotiated it will need Parliament's consent to become law. The European Commission hopes negotiations can start early in 2013.