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
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Digital Optimisation Executive - Marketing

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Reporting Manager

£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...

Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific