US, European Union to Start New Trade Pact Talks

The United States and European Union say they are starting talks on a new trans-Atlantic free trade agreement.


European officials and U.S. President Barack Obama announced the agreement Monday to begin what are likely to be lengthy negotiations on the trade deal as the G8 summit opened at the Lough Erne golf resort in Northern Ireland. The first trade talks are set for Washington next month.


The U.S. and 27-nation EU already account for nearly half of the global economy, with $1 trillion in annual trade. Obama said a new deal to cut tariffs and permit the free flow of business deals, though, could be "potentially groundbreaking."


"It would increase exports, decrease barriers to trade and investment. As part of broader growth strategies in both our economies, it would support hundreds of thousands of jobs on both sides of the ocean," said Obama.


U.S. and EU trade talks are likely to be difficult. EU officials already consented to a French demand to exclude European film, music and television industries from any trans-Atlantic agreement.


British Prime Minister David Cameron, who is hosting the summit, set other economic goals for the two-day summit.


"Making sure we have more trade deals so we keep prices down, making sure we have greater transparency so we can help developing countries get the tax and the revenue that they need, and this issue of taxation, making sure we crack down on tax evasion, and aggressive tax avoidance so right across the world countries get the tax revenue they need to keep taxes down for hard working people and to make sure we can have good health and education systems for all our people," said Cameron.