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EU Offers Update On FTA Negotiations

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

20 February 2013

The European Commission has issued an update on various trade negotiations, which together are worth a projected EUR275bn (USD367bn) to the European Union (EU) economy.

The Commission says that if it were to complete all its free trade talks now, they would bolster gross domestic product by around 2.2%. It expects 90% of all world demand to be generated outside the EU within the next two years, and says that it is a key priority for the EU to open up more market opportunities for businesses.

The update concentrates on on-going and forthcoming negotiations, and on those completed but not entered into force. It also provides improved trade figures for those countries with which free trade agreements (FTAs) are now effective. For instance, the Commission notes that total bilateral trade with Mexico has doubled since the entry into force of a FTA in 2000, while it is estimated that EU firms have made cash savings of EUR350m in duties in the nine months since the entry into force of the South Korean FTA.

The EU has nine trade negotiations under way and several more trade and development negotiations in the works. In the case of India, with whom talks began in 2007, the Commission says that "both sides need to go the final mile to put the package together," with "the contours of a deal emerging." In pursuit of a deal with Canada, the EU says that both sides' "chief negotiators are expected to meet again in the coming weeks to prepare, to the extent possible, the way towards political conclusion." The EU also wants to proceed with exchange of market access offers with Mercosur, in order to "give renewed impetus" to the negotiations.

Earlier this month, the EU and US announced that they had decided to initiate the necessary procedures for the launch of negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. The Commission has also been mandated to open free trade negotiations with Japan and the European Council is looking to "upgrade" the current trade agreements with Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. FTAs with Singapore, Peru, Colombia, Central America and Ukraine are awaiting entry into force, and a further five Economic Partnership Agreements with African, Caribbean and Pacific States have been negotiated.

TAGS: Morocco | business | European Commission | free trade agreement (FTA) | India | trade treaty | Colombia | Mexico | Singapore | agreements | Canada | Egypt | Jordan | Peru | Tunisia | trade | European Union (EU) | Japan | Ukraine | Europe

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