BADGERHERALD: EUROPEAN UNION AMBASSADOR: U.S., EUROPE TRADE AGREEMENT WOULD BOOST ECONOMY
As students worry about the employment outlook, European Union Ambassador João Vale de Almeida said a trade pact could boost both job creation and the American and European economies in a visit to campus Tuesday.

Almeida, head of the EU Delegation to the U.S., addressed the Transatlantic Trade Pact in a talk sponsored by the European Union Center of Excellence and Division of International Studies.

The pact aims to take the European Union and United States Partnership to the "next level,” and would essentially create a "free trade area,” that would create better products and services, he said.

A trade agreement between Europe and America could bring more than $100 billion per year into the U.S. economy, create jobs and boost economic activity, Almeida said.

"The most important relationship in the world is between the U.S. and Europe,” Almeida said.
Fifty percent of the world’s wealth and one-third of its trading goods are found in the United States and Europe, he said. Both areas share common histories, dreams and challenges such as terrorism, economies and awareness of our planet, he said.

Because of these similarities, Almeida said the Transatlantic Pact needs to come to fruition because it would strengthen the relationship between the two nations and create a partnership that benefits the people, goods, capital and job creation market. "There are tough and difficult negotiations,” Almeida said. "We will talk in D.C. in December for the third time and have a great deal of support from businesses, consumers and representatives.”

However, the trade agreeement will not be without obstacles, Almeida said, citing three main issues that need to be addressed in December.
The first issue Almeida outlined was tariffs. Although they are already at a "low” four percent for trading, he said a zero percent tariff would fare better.
The other two current issues with the trade pact are market access and non-regulatory obstacles, but Almeida said he did not know whether the United States and Europe would have free access to each other’s markets.

Non-regulatory issues in play include difficulties in the mindsets of citizens, Almeida said. These include whether people want to "buy American or buy European” and whether having no tariffs is justified.

He said this was not just about the economy of a few countries, but that it was about Europe and America’s "place in the world.” He said that these two nations can build on commonalities and focus on what is "desperately” needed: jobs and economic growth.

While the changes will not come easily, Almeida said the United States and Europe will be negotiating for a few months and he hopes the pact can be revised and brought to Congress and Parliament within a few years.

He also said he believed the plan would go forward with bipartisan support.
"It was discussed with President [Barack] Obama and I believe there is both support in the Republican and Democratic parties,” Almeida. "There seems to be a serious commitment by the United States.”

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426 reads | 22.11.2013
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