Based on its recommendations, President Obama, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso have announced that the US and EU will each begin the necessary procedures to launch negotiations for an EU-US free trade agreement.
Responding to this announcement, Lord Green, Minister for Trade and Investment, said:
I strongly welcome today’s important steps towards negotiations between the EU and USA for a comprehensive free trade agreement. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to liberalise trade fully between the world’s two largest trading blocs.
An agreement could boost the European economy by more than £50 billion - the biggest prize from any trade deal currently underway. We need to make sure that negotiations aim for the most ambitious deal possible to bring benefits for businesses on both sides of the Atlantic. The government is committed to achieving this and that is why the Prime Minister is making trade a cornerstone of our G8 Presidency this year.
The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries.’ It set four ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’ (PDF 1.7MB), published at Budget 2011:
to create the most competitive tax system in the G20
to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe
Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.