EU, U.S. to commit to remove all duties on transatlantic trade

Open question: Was giving up an internet under American control done as a ‘measure of good faith’ in order to push the trans-Atlantic deal through?

(Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama and European Union leaders will promise to remove all tariffs on bilateral trade at a summit on March 26, an ambitious step towards the world’s largest free-trade deal, according to a draft statement seen by Reuters.

The joint declaration, if delivered as laid out in the draft, seeks to overcome tensions following Washington’s offer to cut its duties by less than the Europeans had hoped for and after Brussels pledged to remove almost all of its own tariffs.

“The EU and the United States are firmly committed to concluding a comprehensive and ambitious Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership,” the draft statement reads, referring to U.S.-EU free-trade talks by their official name.

“Those goals include eliminating all duties on bilateral goods trade,” says the statement, which will be delivered at the end of the day-long summit in Brussels.

The statement is subject to further negotiations with the United States.

Tariffs between the United States and the European Union are already low, and the greatest economic benefits of an accord would come from dropping barriers to business.

But in a marketplace of 815 million people, moves to lower the cost of trade are beneficial for companies, particularly automakers such as Ford, General Motors and Volkswagen, with U.S. and European plants.

The United States is seeking a similar trade pact with 11 other nations around the Pacific and Southeast Asia but still faces big differences on import tariffs, particularly with major trading partner Japan.

OPEN, FREE, SECURE INTERNET

Obama and EU leaders will also promise to guarantee a secure Internet governed by many parties, not just the United States, according to the draft summit statement.

Countries from Germany to Brazil are seeking to shield their Internet traffic from U.S. surveillance following revelations that the U.S. National Security Agency spied on U.S. allies including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Full article: EU, U.S. to commit to remove all duties on transatlantic trade (Reuters)

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