Barack Obama expected to call for US-EU trade talks in speech
"There's a buzz in Europe and the expectation is that the president will signal his political support for the beginning of the talks," said Andras Simonyi, managing director of the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies.
A successful agreement that phases out remaining tariffs, harmonizes product standards and reduces regulatory barriers to trade would "have huge implications, way beyond just economics.
I like to call it the 'new NATO'," Simonyi said, referring to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a military alliance that has bound the United States and Europe since 1949.
The United States and the European Union already have the largest trade and investment relationship in the world.
However, faced with rising competition from China and slow economic growth at home, Obama together with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Von Rompuy, created a working group in November 2011 to look at ways the transatlantic partners could build on that relationship to create more jobs.
The group released a preliminary report in mid-2012 calling for the negotiation of a comprehensive trade and investment agreement. Its final report, which was due out at the end of December, still has not been released.
Leaders of the 27 EU member states issued a joint statement on Friday endorsing
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