Obama Expected to Call for Major EU Trade Talks in State of the Union

Obama State of the Union EU Trade TalksBy Doug Palmer

President Barack Obama is expected to call for comprehensive trade and investment talks with the 27 nations of the European Union in his annual State of the Union speech on Tuesday, following more than a year of exploratory discussions.

"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 the proposed pact.

That has raised expectations that Obama would call for the launch of talks in his speech and the working group would release its report shortly after that. Neither the White House nor the U.S. Trade Representative's office would comment on those possibilities.

A European official, speaking on condition that he not be identified, said they were "hopeful" that Obama would make a push for the talks.

Gary Hufbauer, a senior fellow a the Institute for International Economics, said he expected U.S. allies to be listening closely for references to the proposed U.S.-EU talks and other trade initiatives, like the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership talks between the United States and 10 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

"If he doesn't mention these things at all, that's a very big downer," Hufbauer said.

Europeans not only want Obama to endorse the talks, but also to spend some time selling Congress on the idea that a U.S.-EU agreement is central to his vision of stimulating economic growth and creating new jobs, Hufbauer said.

U.S. manufacturers would like Obama to make "a very strong statement on trade in the State of the Union, including talking about launching the transatlantic partnership discussions with the European Union," said Linda Dempsey, vice president for international economic affairs at the National Association of Manufacturers.

Annual U.S. export numbers released last week for 2012 were "fairly anemic," Dempsey said. "What we'd like to see is a much more robust expansive trade policy," that includes the White House working with Congress to get legislative trade authority to negotiate a number of new agreements.

(Additional reporting by Arshad Mohammed and Jeff Mason. Editing by Christopher Wilson)


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alexanderpenn

Another corrupt free trade deal. How many thousands or millions of jobs will this one cost? How much will the American wages drop as a result? What do we have to trade? We have millions of empty containers from China .How much will this add to the US trade deficit? This may add another trillion or two to the budget deficit. It doesn’t matter. This statement during the address will have both parties giving a standing ovation for the destruction of the American middle class. Both parties will promote the corrupt agreement of job producing and necessary for economic growth. Facts will not matter. The corporate media will speak with one voice about how this corrupt deal is obviously good for everyone. The American people will take the word of the corporate media as gospel. Millions will lose their jobs. Half the number of jobs lost will be created for half the pay. The American public will never hear about the deal again because the evil corporate media will have their lips sealed. When a conflict arises between the parties the issues will be resolved in a kangaroo court run by multinational corporations and multibillionaire stakeholders, The US interest will go to the highest bidder, All elected officials will speak of the success of the deal and the corporate media will inform all Americans how important this deal is. The government appears to be anti-American worker. The corporate media also appears to be anti- American.

February 12 2013 at 5:22 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
obamaisafiasco

teapartyisstupid
How do you know?

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How do you know they do?

February 12 2013 at 2:49 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
obamaisafiasco

teapartyisstupid
Hmmmmm,.....and Obama just raised their taxes. The republicans would only give them more tax cuts.

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None of them, not Obama, Pelosi or Reid pay their fair share. They have all those overseas accounts that Obamabots always whine about.

February 12 2013 at 2:40 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
obamaisafiasco

teapartyisstupid
Misleading Joe Walsh lies. No wonder he lost in the 2012 elections.........LMAO!!!!!!!!!!

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Is that you Tammy Quackworthless?

February 12 2013 at 2:38 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
obamaisafiasco

inbredrednecktwo
Seeing that I live in the south where wages are cheap we inbredrednecks have a higher usage of foodstamps and welfare yet we still vote republican. Go figure.........

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Well it's a lie that you're a Republican. So let's get that out of the way. You Obamabots live in all states including red states. And as far as cheap wages go you would have to have a job first in order to comment about wages. You would only be able to comment about how much your welfare check is.

February 12 2013 at 2:33 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
obamaisafiasco

There's an article on CNN Money called "Where the Rich Poeple Live".

Here are a few places I know of where the rich people live.

1. The White House
2. Nancy Pelosi's house
3. Harry Reid's house
4. Joe Biden's house
5. The Clinton's house
6. Al Gore's house
7. Diane Feinstein's House
8. John Kerry's house
and so on.

February 12 2013 at 2:30 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
obamaisafiasco

rickperryoops
Where does it say I have a crush on myself? Hmmmmm?

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It doesn't "Say" anything. You must be hearing things.

February 12 2013 at 2:26 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
obamaisafiasco

rickperryoops
obamaisafiasco?......we republicans are a fiasco.

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Well I guess if you're one then they are.

February 12 2013 at 2:25 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
hemipwr54

Elephant Insurance is a EU company, stay away far away from it.
On another note if the economy is doing so well why the 70% increase to normal everyday goods, hmm Mr. President? And higher gas prices does not a stable economy make. God these inane individuals are stifling America, chocking it to a end.
Just what America needs Europeanizing, we will then be doomed to a life of servitude. Taxation without Representation all over again.

February 12 2013 at 1:45 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
Mingo

Trade what ? We no longer make anything. We really do export fertilizer but the green people want a huge tax on that ..Now what is it we have that the Euro"s want? Food maybe but the cost here woulfd go up greatly for americans if we ship out more. If we have one more bad crop this year there will be americans starving .People in Europe don't need america like they use to ,they build their own things and trade with the rest of the world like we do America is going green but the companies building panals and wind gear are building in China In about one more year of this big spending and no one hear will be able to afford anything from europe.

February 12 2013 at 1:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply