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José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement by President Barroso on the EU-US trade agreement with U.S. President Barack Obama, the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and UK Prime Minister David Cameron
G8 Summit press conference/Lough Erne
17 June 2013
Today is a special day for the relationship between the European Union and the United States.
Today, we announce that we will start the negotiations of a comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement.
Very frankly, three years ago very few would have bet that today we will be in the position to launch negotiations on an ambitious European Union-United States free trade agreement.
And when the teams of the European Commission and the United States will meet for the first round of negotiations next month, it will be the start of a joint undertaking of real strategic importance.
Our joint endeavour is part of our overall agenda for growth and jobs to both sides of the Atlantic by boosting trade and investment.
It is also a powerful demonstration of our determination to shape an open and rules-based world.
We intend to move forward fast. We can say that neither of us will give up content for the sake of speed, but we intend to make rapid progress.
I do not underestimate the core challenge: moving our regulatory regimes closer and addressing the harmful effect of behind-the-border trade barriers. Huge economic benefits are expected from reducing red tape and avoiding divergent regulations for the future. I would rather have our companies invest in new innovative products and services and job creation than in double testing and multiple inspections or even separate manufacturing lines.
Our regulators need to build bridges faster and more systematically. The current economic climate requires us to join forces and to do more with less. More importantly, in doing so, we will remain strong global players who set the standards for the 21st century.
Therefore, I call on our legislators on the European side, especially the European Parliament, our regulators, our civil society to play a constructive and engaged part in these negotiations.
The business communities on both sides of the Atlantic, in particular, have been a strong advocate of free trade and investment between Europe and the United States.
And this is also good for the rest of the world. Given the integrated supply chains in today's global markets, everyone can benefit from this agreement.
Integrating two of the most developed, most sophisticated and certainly the largest economies in the world can never be an easy task.
But we will find convincing answers to legitimate concerns,
we will find solutions to thorny issues,
we will keep our eyes on the prize, and we will succeed.
So even if these negotiations may not always be easy, I am sure they will be worth it.
For the sake of the jobs it creates, and because of the strategic dimension of what we are doing: to write the next chapter of what is our common history, forged by the sense that we share the same principles and values, the principles and values of open economies and open societies.