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ECONOMICS
International affairs

Europe discusses free-trade agreement with US


The EU and the US will this year start talks on a free-trade agreement to help boost their economies, but there are many thorny issues to be worked out. Although the deal would increase trade and create jobs, it will require the two regions to reconcile their different approaches to issues such as animal welfare, people´s privacy and food safety. It could also affect business with other parts of the world. Watch the video to discover the views of two MEPs with very different perspectives.
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Vital Moreira, chair of the international trade committee, is optimistic about the possible benefits. The Portuguese Social Democrat said: "Even a slight increase in trade will bring about a huge added value in terms of growth and jobs on either side of the Atlantic." However, Godelieve Quisthoudt-Rowohl, a German member of the EPP group, said: "Everyone in the EU says, ´we don´t want the American way of life´, but we want the Americans to deal with us on the same level."

Any agreement will have to be approved by the Parliament before it can enter into force. The European Commission plans to submit a negotiating mandate to the Council in March. A unanimous Council decision is needed to launch the talks and is expected in mid-June. Negotiations are likely to take at least two years and the deal will have to be approved by the European Parliament.


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