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Why EU-US free trade agreement would benefit both sides

President Obama announced in his State of the Union speech that talks will start on a free trade agreement between the European Union and the United States. A pact would promote growth and jobs on both sides of the Atlantic, writes the EU ambassador to the US.

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President Obama delivers his State of the Union speech on Capitol Hill Feb. 12, where he announced that negotiations will start on a free trade agreement with the European Union. EU Amb. João Vale de Almeida writes in his op-ed: 'Reaching an ambitious economic agreement between us would send a powerful message to the rest of the world about our leadership in shaping global economic governance in line with our values.'

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

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As President Obama begins his second term, this is the right moment for the United States and the European Union to work together even more closely on a number of issues relevant to both their domestic and foreign policy agendas.

The most immediate way to boost our transatlantic relationship is to follow through on an EU-US free trade agreement. We came an important step closer with President Obama announcing in his State of the Union address last night the launch of direct talks between us to reach that goal. It was followed up by European Commission President José Manuel Barroso today giving a strong endorsement to these talks, saying "a future deal between the world's two most important economic powers will be a game-changer, giving a strong boost to our economies on both sides of the Atlantic."

Bringing down stubborn tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade and investment and aligning our regulatory frameworks while respecting our differences could do a great deal to promote growth and jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. The transatlantic economic relationship is still by far the most important relationship in the world, accounting for about half of the world’s GDP and almost a third of global trade flows. The US and Europe remain each other’s most important markets. 

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