Bruton sees ‘progress’ on common EU trade position

Minister hosts informal meeting of trade mininsters in Dublin


EU trade ministers are closer to reaching "the common position" required to begin negotiations on a new EU-US trade agreement, according to Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton.

He was speaking at an "informal" meeting of EU trade ministers in Dublin Castle today.

As the current chair of the EU’s Council of Trade Ministers, Mr Bruton has set an end-of-June deadline for a final agreement on the mandate to start talks on a proposed free trade agreement with the US.

"This agreement is a crucial part in the process of starting negotiations on a new EU-US Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement,” he said.

"A new trade deal has the potential to provide a real boost to economic growth and job creation, without the need for increased expenditure by Governments.”

According to the EU Commission, a comprehensive agreement with the US could produce an additional 6 per cent growth in exports for the EU, bringing the total benefit to the EU of a new trade agreement to €220 billion.

In a first for the EU, a key figure from the US administration, Mike Froman, deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs, met with EU ministers to discuss the issues around a new EU-US free trade agreement.

"It provided a very valuable opportunity for EU trade ministers to hear first-hand the approach the US side proposes to take. It also allowed him to see the support among Member States for a far-reaching trade agreement,” Mr Bruton said.

Earlier, the head of the World Trade Organisation, Pascal Lamy, cautioned minsters that opening up sectors like agriculture could slow the pace of progress in forging a new deal.