'Biggest bilateral trade deal in history': David Cameron launches negotiations for US and EU agreement

 

Enniskillen

David Cameron on Monday launched the negotiations on what he hailed as “the biggest bilateral trade deal in history” between the European Union and the United States.

The landmark free trade agreement could create a total of two million jobs on both sides of the Atlantic by boosting exports and growth. Mr Cameron said it could be worth £100bn to the EU economy, £80bn to the US and £85bn to the rest of the world. British officials believe it could benefit the UK by £10bn a year - more than £380 for every household.

Formal negotiations will start in July in Washington and it is hoped that they could be concluded by the end of next year. However, trade deals are notoriously hard to finalise and so the process could take longer.

The talks have been planned for months but Mr Cameron used the start of the G8 summit at Loche Erne in Northern Ireland to kickstart them in an attempt to show that the leaders were focused on measures that will make an impact in the real world.

"This is a once-in-a-generation prize and we are determined to seize it," said Mr Cameron."My agenda here is about helping hard-working families right here in the United Kingdom. If we sign trade deals and start trade negotiations here at this meeting in Northern Ireland, that will cut prices and mean a wider range of goods in shops here in the United Kingdom and jobs here in the United Kingdom."

Barack Obama, appearing alongside Mr Cameron at the launch,  said he was confident of reaching an agreement."There are going to be sensitivities on both sides... but if we can look beyond the narrow concerns to stay focused on the big picture. I'm hopeful we can achieve [a deal]," he said.

There is some irritation in Brussels that Mr Cameron presented himself as the frontman for the talks at a time when the UK is debating whether to remain in the EU after his promise to call an in/out referendum by 2017. Supporters of EU membership in the UK claim that Britain would never be able to negotiate a trade deal with the US on its own and the proposed agreement is a good example of the EU's benefits.

Cabinet minister Ken Clarke, one of the most pro-European Conservatives, has warned Eurosceptics that they risk wrecking the prospect of the UK benefiting from the proposed trade deal. Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Mr Clarke said: "It is of course the EU that is making deals with America and Canada possible. It should come as no surprise that President Obama's officials have commented that they would have 'very little appetite' for a deal with the British alone.

"Quite simply, the political commitment and dedication that the creation of a free market encompassing over 800 million people, 47 per cent of world GDP, and boosting the combined economies of the EU and the US by nearly £180bn, could only ever be made by the leaders of evenly matched economic blocs."

Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council, said: "Together Europe and the United States are the backbone of the world economy. Opening up that space further for opportunities for business and consumers is simply common sense."

The final obstacle to Monday's launch was removed on Friday when EU ministers agreed to French demands to exclude the film and television industry from the talks for the time being.

Thrashing out the details of the agreement could take up to two years to finalise and is expected to be "challenging".

Jose Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president, said:"We intend to move forward fast. I can say neither of us will give up content for the sake of speed but we intend to make rapid progress."

Mr Barroso said "huge benefits" were expected from reducing red tape between the two continents. He added: "Integrating two of the most developed, most sophisticated and certainly the largest economies in the world can never be an easy task but we'll find convincing answers to legitimate concerns, we'll find solutions to thorny issues, we'll keep our eyes on the prize and we will succeed."

Suggested Topics
News
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
people
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Worldwide ticket sales for The Lion King musical surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this summer
tvMusical is biggest grossing show or film in history
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drink
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 General

EBD Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Science Teacher Greater Manchester

Humanities Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Humanities teacher required for ...

English Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: ENGLISH TEACHER REQUIRED - Humbe...

Chemistry Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: We are looking for a Qualified C...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits