US, EU make final plea to save trans-Atlantic trade deal


WASHINGTON — With the anti-globalization wave impacting major elections, including that of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, the United States and European Union made a final plea on Tuesday to conclude a trans-Atlantic free trade deal. Just three days away from Trump’s inauguration, and on the same day British Prime Minister Theresa May unveiled her Brexit blueprint, Washington and Brussels issued a joint report to sell the benefits of the massive trade pact that just needs the political will to conclude. The rationale for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) “is even stronger today than it was when we started these negotiations,” U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said in a statement. “We launched the TTIP negotiations in 2013 because we were convinced that the transatlantic trade relationship, already the biggest in the world, could be an even stronger driver of job creation, growth and competitiveness on both sides of the Atlantic.”

The joint report said that “with the political will to prioritize long-term gains for our economies and our broader relationship, the United States and the EU could achieve what we set out to do in 2013: conclude an ambitious, balanced, comprehensive and high-standard agreement.” The sides have held 15 negotiating rounds in the effort to reduce tariff and regulatory barriers to trade and investment between the two economies.

However, the report acknowledged the parties have “significant work to do to resolve our differences in several important areas of the negotiations.” EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said “The EU has left no stone unturned in trying to achieve a balanced, ambitious and high-standard TTIP agreement with clear benefits for citizens, local communities and companies. We have made considerable, tangible progress.”

Froman said despite the work that remains to be done, “there is a lot of value on the table in TTIP, and there is every reason to finish this work.”