Gordon Brown: Free trade enriches our whole world

From a speech by the Chancellor to the US Council of Foreign Relations Transatlantic Taskforce in New York
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The Independent Online

The transatlantic relationship now accounts for up to $2.5 trillion of commercial transactions every year and provides employment to over 12 million people. In the 1990s, US firms ploughed nearly twice as much capital into the Netherlands than into Mexico. At the same time, direct European investment in the US has increased more than tenfold. There is now more European investment in Texas than US investment in Japan.

This means that both Europe and America have a vital interest in each other's economic prosperity. Last month a new joint British-Dutch study submitted to the European Commission reported that if we broke down the tariff barriers and the barriers to trade in services between Europe and the US, employment in Europe could increase by one million, growth in Europe could rise by up to 2 per cent and in America by up to 1 per cent.

I believe the US administration and the EU Commission should work with the UK and other member states to produce a more detailed analysis of precisely where the barriers to trade across the Atlantic lie, and quantify the benefits of greater liberalisation.

It is estimated that if we were to halve protectionism in agriculture and in industrial goods and services we would increase the world's yearly income by nearly $400bn: a boost to growth of 1.4 per cent. Developing countries would gain the most in terms of GDP growth - $150bn a year - but all countries and regions, including ourselves, stand to benefit.