Transatlantic Economy News
UK will find EU bank bonus cap hard to lift
4 March 2013 – Reuters
Curbing the enthusiasm of lawmakers who achieved an EU cap on bank bonuses, London worries that the new measures will threaten its importance as a global financial center. It will be hard for Chancellor George Osborne to unpick the agreement when he meets his European counterparts in Brussels on Tuesday, but he will surely try to argue for changes and push for a softening of pay cuts. Analysts estimate the law will affect 300 to 500 people in each large bank and about 5,000 in London.
The Difference In The Swiss And European Union Controls On High Pay
3 March 2013 – Forbes
The European Parliament recently issued a draft law stating that banks may only pay a bonus to bankers of up to 100 percent the annual base salary. Even if the shareholders desire to pay their employees larger bonuses, they may not. In Switzerland, nearly two thirds of voters in plan to back an initiative that would allow a binding annual shareholder vote on executive compensation for listed companies and block big payouts for new hires. This is an interesting difference between the Swiss and EU approaches.
U.S.-EU trade deal is best stimulus, says De Gucht
3 March 2013 – The Peninsula Qatar
The EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Guct recently said that a transatlantic trade pact is the best way to “boost the sagging economies of both the United States and European Union.” Although De Gucht acknowledges the path to such a deal is difficult, it is an “indispensable ingredient of prosperity.”
Foreign Policy, the Headlines, Reality, Europe and China
22 February 2013 – Huffington Post
The two statements in President Obama's State of the Union, one in relation to federal investments in a manufacturing innovation institute, and another about the U.S.-EU trade pact, are the real strategic foreign policy game changers. Both statements could be among the historic defining moments of the Obama presidency. America’s future economic well-being depends on how it deepens its economic relationship with EU as a balance to China’s export hegemony.
U.S.-EU trade: It's time for more free and open commerce
21 February 2013 – Pittsburgh Post Gazette
President Barack Obama stated in his State of the Union address that the U.S. and the EU are ready to start negotiations on a free-trade pact. Despite all the EU’s problems, it is still a growing economic and political organization of 27 nations. A FTA would benefit both the U.S. and the EU by liberalizing a market of half a trillion people and lowering the price of many consumer goods, helping them address a competitive China and high unemployment rates. A free-trade pact makes good sense for Americans, Obama administration negotiators should pursue one quickly and actively.
Germany's Merkel Pledges Support for EU-U.S. Free Trade Talks
21 February 2013 – Nasdaq
A FTA between U.S. and EU is "by far the most important future project" of the 27 EU member states if it wants to maintain its interests and values in a globalized world, Ms. Merkel said, adding that Germany's government will strongly support the process. Last week the U.S. and the EU announced the formal launch of negotiations on a FTA, which must nonetheless overcome significant obstacles such as EU health and safety rules that limit U.S. farm exports to the EU. The EU is impatient to start talks on the agreement, which officials say will give a much-needed boost to the bloc’s recession-battered economy.
Merkel says others will set benchmarks if no EU, U.S. trade deal
21 February 2013 – Business Times
German Chancellor Angela Merkel asserts that if the U.S. and the EU do not solidify a transatlantic deal that sets common standards for trade and technology, other parts of the world will soon set these benchmarks instead. The worry, Merkel argues, is that these areas of the world have different values than the U.S. and Europe, and their standards might include labor and production conditions that are vastly different.
Unions hope U.S.-EU trade talks can be lever to change labor laws
20 February 2013 – The Hill
Business groups support the U.S.-EU FTA negotiations, which has the potential to create a $5 trillion free-trade area, but they are worried that labor will try to use the talks to alter U.S. union laws. American Unions have not been in favor of most trade agreements negotiated by Republican and Democratic administrations, blaming poor labor standards in U.S. trading partners. They want to use the negotiations on a U.S.-EU trade deal as leverage to win stronger labor laws in the U.S. George Kohl, a senior director at the Communications Workers of America (CWA), said that “people in labor see this as an opportunity, not as a threat,” adding that they hope that the U.S.-EU trade discussions would yield improvements to how corporations treat their workers. Labor support could also make it easier to get a trade deal through Congress, where Democrats in the House have been divided on trade deals.
Transatlantic trade deal is Obama's chance for a legacy
20 February 2013 – Euractiv
A transatlantic free-trade agreement would be Obama’s best chance to leave a positive foreign policy legacy. The magnitude of U.S.-EU economic relations still has no rival. Despite the Eurozone crisis and slow U.S. growth, the U.S. and the EU still account for almost half of the world’s GDP and a third of world trade. Obama will have to be fully engaged with European leaders if he aims to overcome the obstacles to what would be one of history’s most complex trade and investment agreements. Close transatlantic collaboration will also be necessary to address Middle Eastern upheavals and the spread of al-Qaeda associates to Northern Africa and elsewhere.
June trade talks a chance for EU, U.S. to renew ties
20 February 2013 – Business Times
The announcement about the beginning of negotiations for a free-trade agreement between U.S and EU are an important push for the EU to rejuvenate its political ties with U.S. and an incentive to concentrate on sources of future prosperity. After 15 years of unsuccessful trials to establish a FTA, this might be the right time because of the changes in the global market for farm products, which represented a constant issue in previous negotiation attempts.
EU Rehn: EU-U.S. Trade Deal Important For Boosting Growth
19 February 2013 – Nasdaq
A free-trade deal between U.S. and EU is of "paramount importance" for boosting economic growth in the region and could help Europe's economy solve its current troubles, said European Commissioner Olli Rehn. The negotiations are expected to take two years to complete, despite the impatience shown by EU authorities that hope this FTA will boost the European economy. The talks will have to overcome significant obstacles like the health and safety rules that limit U.S. farm exports to the EU. The Commission will "take into account the specific challenges of each and every member state" Mr. Rehn said, reiterating his view that many EU member states need to press ahead with fiscal consolidation efforts, and stating that a country may receive extra time to correct its deficit provided that it is carrying out the "necessary structural reforms" and making efforts to bring its deficit in line with the target.
U.S.-EU trade deal can serve as a global benchmark
19 February 2013 – SCMP
A free-trade deal between U.S. and the EU, talks on which will start by the end of June, would represent the world’s biggest free-trade agreement and would boost both economies (that nowadays account for one third of the world trade and almost the half of the world economy). President Obama claimed that this agreement would create millions of jobs and, based on a joint U.S-EU report, it would boost Europe's economy by around 0.5 per cent ($116 billion) and America's by 0.4 per cent (nearly $90 billion) by 2027. Since tariffs are already low between the U.S and the EU, talks will mainly focus on non-tariff barriers to trade. This would increase competition and be beneficial for consumers. A U.S-EU FTA is considered to be the most ambitious deal since the WTO was created in 1995, and it could serve as a benchmark for other countries and future agreements. The negotiations will not be easy, as European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso claimed that Europe will not want to reach any compromise on matters regarding consumer health, such as genetically modified crops or the use of hormones in agriculture.
EU-U.S. Trade Talks: Southern European States Put on the Brakes
18 February 2013 – Speigel
Germany is pushing for reaching a free-trade agreement between the EU and the U.S., against the will of France and other Southern European nations which aim to protect their farmers by excluding food regulation and gene technology matters from the talks. The German government, based on the study conducted by the IFO economic research institute (which claims that the greater the reduction in trade barriers is, the greater the benefits of a FTA), is worried about the possibility that U.S. might respond to France by excluding itself from food regulation matters, leading to an agreement of modest importance. Negotiations are due to start in June as announced by President Obama in his annual State of the Union speech last Tuesday.
David Cameron seeks special relationship with India
18 February 2013 – The Indian Express
UK Prime Minister David Cameron has started a three-day official visit to India by seeking a “special relationship” between the two countries. This is Cameron’s second visit since taking office. The focus will be on trade as the prime minister leads what he has described as “the biggest-ever business delegation to leave British shores.” Simultaneously, Cameron has emphasized other commonalities between the UK and India, such as the challenge of fighting terrorism.
Germany wants comprehensive EU-U.S. free trade deal
17 February 2013 – Reuters
The German government wants a sweeping transatlantic free-trade deal, while France and southern EU nations seek to protect their agricultural industries and keep out genetically modified U.S. foodstuffs. An IFO economic institute study, carried out for the Economy Ministry, found that per capita gross GDP would rise by 0.1 percent in the EU and 0.2 percent in the United States with the free trade deal if only customs barriers were abolished. The deal would cover half of world output and a third of trade. Both sides hope for an agreement by the end of 2014.
Europe and Japan still failing to fly
14 February 2013 – Financial Times
Official data released today shows that the fourth quarter of 2012 saw a deepening of economic troubles in the Eurozone, with the euro falling 1 percent against the dollar, and a 0.6 percent drop in its gross domestic product. Economists and scholars had predicted a smaller drop, although continuing high rates of unemployment and the negative outcomes of austerity measures have contributed to the economic contraction.
U.S., EU Begin Trade Negotiations
14 February 2013 – Farm Futures
As foreshadowed in the State of the Union address, work on a transatlantic trade agreement has started. In a joint statement issued Wednesday, President Barack Obama, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso announced that the U.S. and the EU would begin the "internal procedures" necessary to launch a Transatlantic trade partnership. The National Milk Producers Federation and the U.S. Dairy Export Council issued a joint statement of support Wednesday, explaining that trade with the EU could provide outlets for dairy exports and address a broad range of bilateral trade and investment matters, including regulatory issues. Dairy groups warn that the opportunity for trade talks should include removing existing barriers and barriers "that seem to be brewing within the EU to ensure they do not grow into tomorrow’s blockades against U.S. dairy products" Kozak said.
BRT Commends Decision to Launch U.S.-EU Trade Negotiations
13 February 2013 – BRT
The Business Roundtable (BRT) appreciated the U.S-EU High Level Working Group (led by U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht) and leaders on both sides for recommending the launch of new investment and trade negotiations. BRT members see U.S.-EU negotiations as a way to expand opportunities for growth and job creation in the U.S. and Europe. Over the last year and a half, the BRT has been very active in working toward a strengthened U.S.-EU economic relationship, releasing a joint white paper in November 2011 with the Transatlantic Business Dialogue (TABD) that outlines a vision for a more strategic and dynamic U.S.-EU partnership.
Reset redux: Washington’s "secret letter" to Moscow provokes speculation
13 February 2013 – RT
It is anticipated that President Obama's National Security Advisor, Thomas Donilon, will deliver to the Kremlin “a so-called secret letter” this month, probably with a nuclear arms reduction proposal, said Alexei Pushkov, the Head of the Duma International Affairs Committee. However, according to Pushkov, since the U.S. and NATO pursue missile defense in Eastern Europe without promised cooperation with Russia, there is instead a chance for a nuclear arms race. Due to controversies over the missile defense program, Russia may decide to exit the New START in order to maintain strategic stability. The Russian official also harshly criticized Obama’s bids to abolish nuclear arms, describing them as “pure propaganda and a romantic idea.”
EU, U.S. to push for transatlantic trade deal
13 February 2013 – CBS News
The U.S. and the EU recently announced that they have agreed to commence talks on a transatlantic free-trade agreement. In a statement issued by the White House, President Barack Obama said that, “Through this negotiation, the United States and the European Union will have the opportunity not only to expand trade and investment across the Atlantic, but also to contribute to the development of global rules that can strengthen the multilateral trading system.” The EU’s trade commissioner, Karel De Gucht, said negotiations should start by summer.
A Running Start for a U.S.-Europe Trade Pact
13 February 2013 – New York Times
U.S. and EU officials indicated that some of the most difficult issues standing in the way of a transatlantic free-trade agreement had recently been resolved “behind closed doors.” While both U.S. and EU officials acknowledge that much work has yet to be done, many are hopeful that an agreement will be reached before the end of 2014.
U.S. and EU announce global “game-changer” trade agreement
13 February 2013 – AFP
The EU and the U.S. are to negotiate the biggest free trade agreement ever, a global “game-changer,” boosting growth and providing much-needed jobs, European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso said on Wednesday. He added that “the sooner we start, the sooner we can reach a successful conclusion.” President Obama expressed his willingness to start talks soon in his State of the Union address “because trade that is free and fair across the Atlantic supports millions of good-paying American jobs.” Asked whether an EU-U.S. accord would undercut the work of the World Trade Organization, Barroso said he recognized the issue but it could not be allowed to stand in the way. He said that “this free trade agreement could have a big impact on global (trade) rules,” adding that the EU will continue to support the WTO process.
EU and U.S. to start free trade talks
13 February 2013 – Reuters
The day after President Obama’s State of the Union address, in which he announced the U.S. would support a free trade agreement with the EU, it seems talks have begun. These efforts would result in the biggest free trade alliance in the world, and the most expansive endeavor since the 1995 founding of the WTO. A joint report by the U.S. and the EU was released, recommending the two begin. The deal is expected to boost both economies and create jobs. One of the most difficult aspects of the negotiations is expected to be agriculture, where standards on both sides have long been sticking points.
State of the Union: Obama Backs Trans-Atlantic Trade Deal with EU
13 February 2013 – Spiegel Online
U.S. President Barack Obama endorsed a transatlantic free-trade agreement in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday evening. In explaining his endorsement, President Obama stated: “...trade that is fair and free across the Atlantic supports millions of good-paying American jobs.” EU leaders also recently publicly announced their support for such an initiative at the last EU summit in Brussels. With the project receiving official approval from the highest levels on both sides of the Atlantic, the hope is that official negotiations will commence shortly.
Obama expected to call for U.S.-EU trade talks in speech
11 February 2013 – Reuters
U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to call for a comprehensive free-trade agreement between the U.S. and the EU in his State of the Union speech. The agreement would phase out remaining tariffs, harmonize product standards, and reduce regulatory barriers to trade between the allies. The leaders of the 27 EU member states endorsed the initiative late last week, causing many to believe that President Obama will follow suit this Tuesday evening.
EU budget deal may face rough ride in parliament
11 February 2013 – AFP
The European Parliament seems not to agree with the deal reached on the EU’s 2014-2020 budget, which consists of a three percent reduction in spending over the next seven years. As specified in the 2009 Lisbon Treaty, the European Parliament is part of the EU budget process, with lawmakers required to sign off on the figures EU leaders agree. European Council President Herman Van Rompuy invites the European Parliament to think about it very carefully before rejecting the budget proposal, and consider the “potentially huge implications for the economy, jobs and future prosperity.”
Commissioner calls on European Parliament not to veto EU budget
11 February 2013 – Thenews.pl
The European Parliament has the power to bloc EU financing legislation, and could potentially scupper the deal recently reached in the 27-nation bloc, which saw a cut in the seven-year budget of three percent. President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz explicitly said that he does not agree to the deal reached by the 27, adding that he “cannot and will not accept what amount to deficit budgets.” Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski underlined the difficulty of “getting an agreement over the money,” adding that it would be difficult to explain why we are not capable of striking a deal. Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who described Friday as “the happiest day of his life” after national leaders concluded the deal, said over the weekend that he would lead a public consultation on how to spend the funds. He thinks that spending from “cohesion policy” funds “must fit local needs.” He stated that he will be directly involved organizing meetings and consultations.
"Eurozone breakup might end EU" - father of the euro
11 February 2013 – RT
“What is wrong, is the current problem of very high debts combined with high deficits”, Nobel Prize winning economist Robert Mundell said, answering a journalist who asked him why the unemployment rate in the Eurozone is at 12% and why the economic prognosis is looking so bad. Mundell added that the reason for this recession is the slowdown starting in 2008 and not really the existence of the euro since before its creation, countries like Italy, Greece and Spain already had 110-120% debt to GDP ratios. He claims that the real problem is the lack of fiscal discipline a static or declining population. Mundell explains that with the introduction of the euro, countries like Italy – which had an interest rate around 12%-14% before the euro – saw a drastic drop to 4%. This encouraged the governments of these countries to issue more debt, without realizing that these debts could not be devalued. He argued thatEurozone countries need to balance their budgets – that they have to raise revenues, but not through focusing on taxes and getting economies back to full employment. He argues that the problem that needs to be solved is the one of centralization.
Progress on EU-U.S. trade deal
10 February 2013 – New Europe
Talks are ongoing between the U.S. and the EU regarding the completion of a joint report that will detail how to progress on a transatlantic free trade agreement. While the report has been delayed since the end of last year, progress is gradually being made, as the EU recently dropped its ban on some U.S. agricultural imports. An EU official stated: “At the moment the talks are continuing, and both sides are hopeful of conclusions being reached, this report is about an alignment between the EU and the U.S. and the possibility of a trade relationship, there are a couple of options on the table where there are issues that ideally will be solved for the agreement...”
U.S.-Europe Trade Deal "Within Reach"
8 February 2013 – Reuters
A U.S.-EU draft FTA proposal drawn up by EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk is essentially ready. De Gucht, who went to Washington this week, has given strong signals that there is enough common ground to go ahead with negotiations. U.S. officials, concerned about getting bogged down in endless talks, have said they need a strong political commitment from the 27-nation European Union. The EU's formal commitment came last Friday when a summit, actually focused on efforts to agree the EU's seven-year budget, wrapped up with a final statement. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, with support from free-trade advocate Britain, has been eager for a deal for months.
EU leaders agree to push for U.S. trade deal
8 February 2013 – Reuters
European leaders recently agreed at a summit in Brussels to push for a free-trade agreement with the U.S. Many leaders hope the deal will help the Union recover from the Eurozone crisis. Their endorsement raises expectations that U.S. President Barack Obama will also announce his approval of the initiative during his annual State of the Union speech on February 12. A U.S. trade official in Washington said that progress is likely, and that EU leaders’ unity is, “helpful in building confidence that the EU has the political will to do what is necessary for an agreement.”
EU, US Fully Implement Mutual Recognition Decision
8 February 2013 – CBP.gov
U.S. Custom and Border Protection (CBP) and the European Union announced the mutual recognition decision between CBP’s Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program and the EU’s Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program was fully implemented as of January 2013. The agreement provides benefits to C-TPAT members when exporting to EU member states, such as lower risk scores and less exams when shipping cargo. The agreement was first signed in May 2012 with the goal of linking the international industry partnership programs, so that “together they create a unified and sustainable security posture that can assist it securing and facilitating global cargo trade.”
European Employers Urge Obama to Push US-EU Free Trade Deal
8 February 2013 – Money News
U.S. and EU business leaders are pushing President Barack Obama to endorse talks for a free-trade agreement between the partners in his February 12 State of the Union address. Business leaders argue the deal would “boost economic growth and help create much-needed employment.” U.S. Vice President Joe Biden called for talks in a speech in Munich on February 2, and said that the U.S. and the EU should avoid protracted rounds of negotiations. He argued that: “The question now is whether the political will exists to resolve [those] longstanding differences.”
EU, US may start FTA negotiations
8 February 2013 – New Europe Online
On February 8, Reuters reported that the EU leaders will agree to push for a new free trade Agreement with U.S. Germany and Britain have attained consensus from other Member States to reach new trade deals with U.S. According to some forecasting studies conducted by the European Center for International Political Economy, a free trade agreement between U.S. and EU would lead to a gain of €120 billion. After the establishment of an EU High Level Working Group to measure the increase of U.S.-EU trade and investment, an initial report was issued. Today Reuters reported that the final draft drawn up by the European Union Trade Commissioner, Karel De Gucht, and U.S. trade representative Ron Kirk, is almost complete and leading to a upcoming negotiation. Just few days ago U.S. Vice President Joe Biden welcomed the possibility for a new FTA with EU, underlining however that the two sides need to smooth their differences in agricultural and other exports.
EU-US trade relationship, a priority for Irish Presidency
7 February 2013 – New Europe Online
The Irish Presidency announced today that the EU-U.S. trade relationship can go further and maximize the potential of the transatlantic marketplace. The Irish Presidency issued a press release regarding the overall usefulness of trade, arguing: (i) trade is fundamental to Presidency priorities of stability, growth and jobs; (ii) the EU needs thriving trade in goods, services and investments; (iii) the EU needs new market access opportunities, including in rapidly growing markets; (iv) in the future, 90 per cent of world growth will be generated outside the EU; (v) and developing and emerging countries are likely to account for nearly 60 per cent of world GDP by 2030. Last but not least, the Irish Presidency will aim to strengthen relationships with Eastern and Southern European neighbors and support their economic and social development.
Questions Linger As EU, US Consider Launching Trade Talks
6 February 2013 – Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest
Top U.S. and EU officials have been meeting during the past week to discuss the possibility of commencing talks on a long-awaited free-trade agreement. Questions remain however, about whether the partners will be able to resolve differences that have obstructed negotiations in the past. EU Trade Commissioner, Karel De Gucht, and U.S. Trade Representative, Ron Kirk, met Wednesday to put the final touches on a joint report by the EU-U.S. High-Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth, which is also supposed to include recommendations for starting negotiations. These efforts ultimately did not succeed however, leaving the date of the report, and negotiations, up in the air.
Indonesia says EU-U.S. trade deal could revive global talks
5 February 2013 – Reuters
Indonesia’s candidate to head the World Trade Organization (WTO), Mari Pangestu, said that a U.S.-EU trade agreement could potentially revive global talks in the rest of the world out of fear of being sidelined. In an interview in Brussels this week, Ms. Pangestu said, “The U.S.-EU deal will be a catalyst…others will see the momentum and they won’t want to be overtaken by events.” Ms. Pangestu is one of nine candidates seeking the top job at the WTO, and is currently seen as the frontrunner. The new leader of the WTO faces the difficult task of preventing the organization from being redundant in the global economy, especially if a trade agreement is reached between the U.S. and the EU.
U.S. awaiting EU political signal for trade talks: official
5 February 2013 – Reuters
Senior Obama administration officials said that the U.S. needs a strong political signal from EU leaders to commence talks on a transatlantic trade agreement. One U.S. official recently said, “What we’re really focused on is making sure the Europeans are fully committed to the talks and have the political will to take on the difficult issues.” The possibility of starting trade talks has been discussed since November 2011. Although a date has yet to be finalized, leaders from the 27 EU member states will discuss the trade talks at a European Council meeting this Thursday.
Forget Asia: Time to Pivot to Europe
4 February 2013 – New Atlanticist
It is becoming more likely that a U.S.-EU free-trade agreement will be concluded during U.S. President Barack Obama’s second term in office. A U.S.-EU High Level Working Group is scheduled to issue a report in February that will initiate talks on the accord this spring. While the U.S. and the EU are still both engulfed in severe economic crises, and significant obstacles remain in the way, such as divergent regulatory approaches, there is momentum on both sides to reach an agreement. A free-trade deal between the partners could give new momentum to a “sagging U.S.-EU relationship” and “enhance the global leverage of both actors.”
Europe removes agriculture barriers to US trade talks
4 February 2013 – Reuters
The European Union recently dropped its ban on some U.S. meat imports in an effort to commence talks on a free-trade agreement between the two allies. The ban, which will be lifted on February 25, 2013, will drop European objections on differing hygiene and husbandry methods in meat production that U.S. farmers have long regarded as scientifically unsubstantiated. The EU is also considering easing restrictions on imports of tallow from the U.S., an animal fat used in biofuels. It is hoped that the removal of these agricultural barriers will encourage the U.S. to commence negotiations on the long-awaited free-trade agreement.
U.S., EU May Put Some Issues On “Separate Tracks” In Expected FTA Talks
3 February 2013 – Inside Trade
In preparation for negotiations on their free-trade agreement, the U.S. and the EU are considering undertaking an approach that would allow different areas to progress at different speeds. The approach is in response to growing concerns on both sides that the tougher areas, such regulatory issues, will slow down the progress of less controversial issues and negotiations at large. It is not yet known how the two sides will work through the tougher issues.
Merkel urges greater efforts towards EU-US trade pact
1 February 2013 – EU Business
German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for increased efforts toward a transatlantic trade agreement during her recent visit with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. Negotiations have been stalled over disagreements on contentious issues such as agricultural subsidies, however Merkel said there were “positive signs” for the agreement since U.S. President Barack Obama included the issue on the agenda for his second term.
1 February 2013 – The Economist
After decades of stalled attempts and barricades, a transatlantic free trade deal is in the works between the U.S. and EU. Officials are speaking of creating “something approaching a transatlantic single market in goods.” The deal is hoped to help struggling economies on both sides of the Atlantic, and to set international trade rules in the face of fast-rising China. While enthusiasm for such a deal is widespread, there is also wariness, particularly on the American side. A high-level working group reported that the start of negotiations has been delayed. Some believe that U.S. President Barack Obama is intentionally delaying talks in order to squeeze additional concessions out of the Europeans, while others argue the postponement is to ensure that when negotiations do commence they are both ambitious and fast, unlike previous talks between the two partners.
Why a Reinvented Transatlantic Economic Relationship Is Needed to Cope With the Economic Crisis
29 January 2013 – Huffington Post
The solution to the sovereign debt crisis and the restoration of confidence in the European Union are vital not just for Europe and the U.S., but for the stability of worldwide financial markets. As a first step, the U.S.-EU Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement must be negotiated and concluded soon. The consequence of such an agreement, and a renewed transatlantic bond, could eventually extend to the creation of a broader common transatlantic market that would have long term positive global implications extending beyond trade.
EU, U.S. on verge of “difficult” free-trade negotiations
26 January 2013 – Terra.com
The U.S. and the EU are wrapping up preparations to begin negotiations on the long-awaited free-trade agreement. Karel De Gucht, the EU’s Trade Commissioner, will travel to Washington on February 5, 2013 to put the final touches on a joint EU-U.S. report. While the report is nearly finished, and there is momentum for an agreement, there are growing concerns both in the U.S. and the EU about getting stalled in endless negotiations. To address this issue, U.S. President Barack Obama and EU leaders have assembled an expert group co-chaired by Karel De Gucht and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, to assess if negotiations are worth undertaking.
Americans hopeful Ireland can help move EU-US free-trade deal forward
16 January 2013 – The Irish Times
American government officials are hopeful that Ireland’s presidency of the European Council will give momentum to an EU-U.S. trade agreement. The High Level Working Group, comprised of European and American trade officials, is intended to devise a framework for talks on the agreement in November; however, no such framework has yet materialized. The delay is largely due to the comprehensive nature of the agreement and contentious issues, such as genetically modified crops. A senior American government official said recently that the group’s recommendations are expected “within weeks,” but it will not be until “late spring, early summer” when negotiations commence.
Potential U.S.-EU Free Trade Agreement
11, 13 January 2013 - Wall Street Journal/The Hindu Business Line
Germany’s foreign minister discussed a potential U.S.-EU free-trade agreement with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday. While a potential trade deal is not a new area of discussion, it has picked up significant pace this past year. An interim report by a U.S.-EU High Level Working Group called for a deal that would address issues such as the elimination of all duties on bilateral trade, the improvement of regulations and standards, and an increased access to government procurement opportunities. Both the U.S. government and the European Commission described the potential deal as a “bold initiative” to strengthen economies on both sides of the Atlantic by expanding trade and investment, creating new jobs, and strengthening growth. While reaction to the deal has thus far been positive, the comprehensive nature of the deal is expected to stall progress.
Japan weighs purchase of first Eurozone bailout funds
8 January 2013 – Euractiv
Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso has committed his country to purchasing bonds issued by the European Stability Mechanism. "Stability in Europe's financial situation helps stabilize currencies including the yen," Japan has already purchased €7 billion of bonds issued by the European Financial Stability Facility – the Eurozone’s temporary bailout fund.
Barroso: Threat to euro overcome
7 January 2013 – BBC
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso believes the eurozone’s existential crisis has been overcome. He argued that the turning point came in September, when the ECB committed to purchasing unlimited amounts of eurozone states’ debts. Investors now understand the level of political commitment to the common currency, he said, adding that political union is now a necessity.
Cameron wants “restrictions” put on EU freedom of movement
7 January 2013 – Euractiv
In an interview with the BBC, British Prime Minister David Cameron argued that restrictions could be imposed to make it “harder for people to come and live in Britain and claim benefits…” When asked whether the UK should leave the EU, Cameron rejected the notion and stated: “Fifty per cent of our trade is with the European Union. At the moment, because we’re in this single market, we have a seat at the table in the single market, we help write those rules. If we were outside the EU altogether, we’d still be trading with these European countries but we’d have no say.”
Basel liquidity agreement boosts bank shares
7 January 2013 – BBC
Over the weekend, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision agreed on the required levels of reserves needed to protect against bank runs. Instead of meeting those requirements by 2015, however, banks now have until 2019. Bank of England governor Sir Mervyn King, who chaired the group of regulators that agreed to the deal, said that the delayed introduction of the new standards would not “hinder the ability of the global banking system to finance a recovery.” European bank shares rose on the news.
UK Borrowing Costs Rise Above France
4 January 2013 – Financial Times
Today, the British government’s borrowing rate on 10-year bonds briefly rose above those of France. The higher borrowing rate in the UK and the relative decline in France are largely due to the conclusion of the Bank of England’s bond-buying program and euro investors’ willingness to assume higher levels of risk on the continent. Investors expect the Bank of England to intervene if British bond yields continue to rise.
France needs more leeway to meet deficit targets, suggests IMF
26 December 2012 – Guardian
The IMF has recommended that France focus more on long-term goals than meeting EU-set GDP targets for its 2013 budget. The EU wants France’s annual deficit in 2013 to be a maximum 3% of GDP; the IMF has said that no further measures should be taken to make sure that long-term plans are credible. This comes after reports from El País that the Commission is consider