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NEWS: The EU and US consider a free trade agreement

The Associated Press reports that both United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and European Union Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht have expressed support for a US-EU free trade agreement.

The news service notes, “After years of battling each other on trade issues, U.S. and European officials are contemplating a dramatic change in direction: joining together in what could be the world’s largest free-trade pact in an attempt to boost their struggling economies. Discussions are in the most preliminary of stages and there would be significant obstacles to overcome, including sharp differences on agriculture, food safety and climate change legislation. …(But) both sides are awaiting a report by a working group they appointed to study the issue. The report is expected within weeks and a positive recommendation could lead to negotiations early next year.”

Notably, “America’s main labor federation, often the biggest opponent to U.S. trade pacts, says it wouldn’t stand in the way.”

As Canada and the European Union appear to be concluding the negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) – and entering into an anticipated two years or more of a ratification period – analysis of the implications of a US-EU deal on Canada and the European Union, particularly in relation to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), may be increasingly important to have.

The AP article is at http://www.canadianbusiness.com/article/109669–us-eu-considering-world-s-biggest-free-trade-pact.