The United States and the European Union agreed to launch negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

The EU and US have decided to take their economic relationship to a higher level by agreeing to launch negotiations for a comprehensive trade and investment agreement. When negotiations are completed, this EU-US agreement would be the biggest bilateral trade deal ever negotiated – and it could add 0.5% to the EU's annual economic output.

Based on recommendations from the U.S.-EU High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth co-chaired by United States Trade Representative Kirk and European Trade Commissioner De Gucht, United States President Barack Obama, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso announced that they will each initiate the internal procedures necessary to launch negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. In July 2012, EU and US also reached an agreement to facilitate SMEs presence in both continents.

US and EU leaders stressed that the transatlantic economic relationship is already the world’s largest, accounting for half of global economic output and nearly one trillion dollars in goods and services trade, and supporting millions of jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will aim to go beyond the classic approach of removing tariffs and opening markets on investment, services and public procurement. In addition, it will focus on aligning rules and technical product standards which currently form the most important barrier to transatlantic trade. Studies show that the additional cost burden due to such regulatory differences is equivalent to a tariff of more than 10%, and even 20% for some sectors, whereas classic tariffs are at around 4%.

Negotiations will aim to achieve ambitious outcomes in three broad areas: market access; regulatory issues and non-tariff barriers; and rules, principles, and new modes of cooperation to address shared global trade challenges and opportunities. US and EU leaders also underlined that a high-standard Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership would advance trade and investment liberalization and address regulatory and other non-tariff barriers.