Transatlantic trade discussions could boost UK economy by £100bn over 10 years

Talks started today on free-trade deal between EU and US
that could be worth up to $200bn a year to Western economies

Free-trade talks between the United States and the European
Union that could boost their collective economies by up to $200 billion a year
started in Washington today.

Despite conflicts over the recent NSA government surveillance scandal and a long-running disagreement between the US’s Boeing and Airbus in Europe, progress got underway towards what would be the world’s biggest free-trade deal.

The proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership pact would cover about 50 per cent of global economic output, 30 per cent of global trade and 20 per cent of global foreign direct investment.

Joseph Francois, who ran the Centre for Economic Policy Research’s studies on the impact of the agreement, told the Independent that the effect on productivity and efficiency could boost the GDP of the UK alone by £4-10 billion a year.

He said: “Historically these talks are an important step in modernising the trading system. We have two big global players with a shared goal of boosting productivity and reducing trade and investment frictions.”

He added that in the long run successful talks, which would remove tariffs and cut down on regulations, would create jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. 

The US and the EU are already each other's top trade and investment partners, with two-way trade between the bodies estimated at around $650 billion last year. 

US Trade Representative Mike Froman said: “We go into these negotiations with the goal of achieving the broadest possible, most comprehensive agreement that we can.” 

In order for a deal to be struck, both sides will need to agree on regulations for a disparate range of sectors, from agriculture to computer and information services.

And the latter has become the latest stumbling-block, with the revelations that the US uses customer data from many internet companies to identify potential threats to national security.

“It's made a difficult negotiating issue even harder,” said Jeffrey Schott, a senior fellow at Washington’s Peterson Institute for International Economics.

He added that the potential gains from an overall agreement are so big that there’s still a good chance one will be reached.

Meanwhile, the elephant in the room at the talks is the world's largest trade dispute over billions of dollars in subsidies for US aircraft manufacturer Boeing Co and its EU rival, Airbus. 

They continue to battle it out in the World Trade Organisation dispute settlement system, and Schott warned that unless they reach terms we could see a bizarre situation where they end up spitefully raising duties on each other’s goods, as everyone else is trying to free up transatlantic trade.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

Recruitment Genius: Experienced Financial Advisers and Paraplanners

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This extremely successful and well-established...

Guru Careers: FX Trader / Risk Manager

Competitive with monthly bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced FX...

Day In a Page

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue