G8 leaders hail trans-Atlantic trade talks

June 17, 2013 at 11:30 PM   |   Comments

ENNISKILLEN, Northern Ireland, June 17 (UPI) -- U.S. and European leaders hailed the opening of trans-Atlantic trade talks at the Group of Eight summit meeting in Northern Ireland Monday.

In his opening remarks at a press event, British Prime Minister David Cameron said the whole point of the meeting "is to fire up our economies and drive growth and prosperity around the world."

"And there is no more powerful way of doing this than boosting trade," he said.

In addition to Cameron, U.S. President Barack Obama, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, commented on the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership talks to begin in Washington in July.

The leaders said repeatedly that trade means greater investment and prosperity, which translates to job creation.

A trade deal "could add as much as a $157 billion to the EU economy, $125 billion to the U.S. economy, and as much as $133.4 billion to the rest of the world," Cameron said.

Obama said the trade talks would be "groundbreaking."

"It would increase exports, decrease barriers to trade and investment," he said, noting it would support "hundreds of thousands of jobs on both sides of the ocean."

Obama said the European Union and the United States "makes up nearly half of global gross domestic product."

"We trade about $1 trillion in goods and services each year. We invest nearly $4 trillion in each other's economies. And all that supports around 13 million jobs on both sides of the Atlantic," he said.

Obama also thanked German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta, Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny and French President Francois Hollande.

Hollande attended the meeting before the press event, but skipped the public announcements. French reporters said he was preparing for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The G8 leaders Monday evening released a statement on the global economy, saying "growth and jobs is our top priority" and that monetary policy should continue to support the recovery and be "directed towards domestic price stability."

The trade talks, to open in Washington July 8, are expected to be comprehensive and designed to expand on the $458 billion in U.S. goods and services exported to the EU in 2012.

As of 2011, there is already nearly $3.7 trillion in investments in each other's economies, the White House said in a statement.

One aim is to eliminate all tariffs on trade and to "tackle costly 'behind the border' non-tariff barriers," the White House said.

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