US Trade talks herald a win-win boost for Britain

23-May-2013 @ 14:0

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Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Britain can expect to benefit hugely if a comprehesive free trade agreement can be negotiated between the European Union and the USA, a leading champion of the talks said today.

Conservative MEP Robert Sturdy was speaking as the European parliament sitting in Strasbourg voted overwhelmingly to endorse a start to negotiations on what would be the largest bilateral trade deal ever negotiated.

He said: "A deal would not only boost exports in key sectors such as motor-manufacturing, but it would also make Britain a potential magent for inward investment from America. We would be looking at a win-win for Uk plc."

Mr Sturdy, Conservative MEP for the East of England, is a key member of the parliament's high-level work group on potential talks is a long-standing and determined advocate of the massive potential benefits of a deal.

For the UK alone, he says, national income could see an increase of of between £4-10 billion annually - an increase of up to 0.35 per cent in gross domestic product.

It would also help secure a more outward looking EU that seeks access to foreign markets and does resort to protectionism - a crucial plank of David Cameron's vision for a reformed Europe.

The sector to benefit most from an ambitious deal covering non-tariff barriers would be the car industry, which would see an increase in exports of between 1.7% and 7.3%.

Said Mr Sturdy: "We are looking at a huge boost to firms such as Jaguar Land Rover, which employ thousands of people in the UK.

"Another aspect of an agreement would see the EU and US striving to shape global rules and standards on trade. With almost 50 per cent of world GDP and a large percentage of world trade, this is crucial if we are to keep setting the rules in a future world with players such as China, India, Brazil, Mexico and so on."

The two sides are even now each other's main trading partners and enjoy the largest bilateral trade relationship in the world. In 2011, EU imports from the US@amounted to 11 % and the exports to 17 % of its extra-EU trade, whereas EU-27 accounted for 17 % of@US imports and 19 % of their exports.



However for all its value, the relationship still suffers from numerous obstacles to trade. The EU Commission estimates that a comprehensive deal with the US would benefit the EU to the tune of €120bn.

Mr Sturdy explained: "This could mean an extra £400 a year in disposable income to the average British family.

"The opportunity is immense, which why we have the most open approach possible to negotiations at this stage. No red lines, no restrictions, nothing off limits.

"We're going into this with open eyes and open minds."

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