13 May 2013 18:32 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (ICIS)--President Barack Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday vowed to pursue detailed negotiations toward a US-EU free trade agreement in hopes of making progress in time for the 17 June G8 conference.
“We are looking forward to open negotiations with the EU in coming months,” Obama said at a press conference with Cameron.
Describing relations between the US and the UK as “a partnership of the heart” in addition to the two nations’ trade interests, Obama said that development of a US-EU trade agreement would be an opportunity to reduce tariffs on both sides of the Atlantic and advance the economies of both regions.
Cameron said that the US-UK relationship is “a partnership without parallel” and promised that in negotiations toward a US-EU trade deal, “everything will be on the table, and there will be no exceptions”.
He said that the next five weeks leading up to the 17 June G8 summit conference in Ireland will be critical in bringing a US-EU trade agreement into shape.
The G8 (Group of Eight) is made up of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the UK and the US. The European Commission, the administrative branch of the EU, is represented at G8 meetings.
Consequently, the G8 conference in five weeks is seen as an opportunity to accelerate work toward a US-EU trade agreement.
US chemicals producers and other manufacturing interests have welcomed plans for a US-EU trade agreement with the expectation that such a deal would eliminate most tariffs between the two economic giants.
US chemicals manufacturers estimate that EU tariffs cost them more than $1bn (€770m) annually.
Obama also said that the US relationship with the UK is “special and hugely important to our interests”.
Cameron and Obama appeared at a joint press conference in the White House following their private talks earlier in the day.
In addition to the US-EU trade agreement goal, the two leaders also discussed the global economy and the on-going civil war in Syria.
($1 = €0.77)
Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy
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