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EU, US announce plans for free-trade talks

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EU, US announce plans for free-trade talks
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Brussels: The European Union and the US Wednesday announced plans to launch negotiations for a transatlantic trade and investment accord.

"It is estimated that, when this agreement is up and running, the European economy will get a stimulus of half a percent of our GDP - which translates into tens of billions of euros every year and tens of thousands of new jobs," European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said in a press conference in Brussels.

In a joint statement, Barroso, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and US.President Barack Obama said the future accord between Brussels and Washington will help spur economic growth and create jobs.

"The transatlantic economic relationship is already the world's largest, accounting for half of global economic output and nearly one trillion dollars in goods and services trade, and supporting millions of jobs on both sides of the Atlantic," the statement said.

The negotiations will encompass the areas of market access, regulatory issues and non-tariff barriers, as well as "rules, principles, and new modes of cooperation to address shared global trade challenges and opportunities", the European Union said in a press release.

Obama announced the plans for talks on a comprehensive trade and investment partnership with the European Union during Tuesday night's State of the Union address.

The joint statement said Brussels and Washington are "committed to making this relationship an even stronger driver of our prosperity".

IANS

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