Well, good afternoon and welcome everyone. Welcome to Lough Erne. I always said that the whole point of this meeting in Lough Erne is to fire up our economies and drive growth and prosperity around the world; to do things that make a real difference to people’s lives. And there is no more powerful way to achieve that than by boosting trade. And there’s no better way than by launching these negotiations on a landmark deal between the European Union and the United States of America; a deal that could add as much as £100 billion to the EU economy, £80 billion to the US economy, and as much as £85 billion to the rest of the world.
And we should be clear about what these numbers could really mean. Two million extra jobs, more choice and lower prices in our shops. We’re talking about what could be the biggest bilateral trade deal in history, a deal that will have a greater impact than all the other trade deals on the table put together.
When we last met at Camp David in the G8 and we first suggested we could reach this moment here in Lough Erne, many doubted it would be possible. Everyone knows these trade deals are difficult. Some take years to get off the ground, and some never happen at all. So it’s a testament to the leadership and the political will of everyone here that we’ve reached this point. We must maintain that political will in the months ahead. This is a once-in-a-generation prize, and we are determined to seize it.
President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso
Today’s a special day for the relation between European Union and United States. Today we announced we will start negotiations of a comprehensive transatlantic trade and investment partnership agreement. Very frankly, two years ago, very few would have bet that today we would be in the position to launch negotiations of an ambitious European Union / United States free trade agreement. And when the teams of the European Commission and United States will meet for the first round of negotiations next month, it will be the start of a joint undertaking of real strategic importance.
Our joint endeavour is part of our overall agenda for growth and jobs, to both sides of the Atlantic, by boosting trade and investment. It is also a powerful demonstration of our determination to shape an open, rules-based world. We intend to move forward fast. We can say that neither of us will give up content for the sake of speed, but we intend to make rapid progress. I do not underestimate the core challenge, moving our regulatory regimes closer and addressing the harmful effect of the behind-the-border trade barriers.
Huge economic benefits are expected from reducing red tape, avoiding divergent regulations for the future. I would rather have our companies invest in new, innovative products and services and job creation than in double‑testing, our multiple inspections, or even separate manufacturing lines. Our regulators need to build bridges faster and more systematically. The current economic climate requires us to join forces and to do more with less. More importantly, in doing so, we will remain strong global players who set the standards for the 21st century.
Therefore, I call on our legislators – European side especially, the European Parliament – our regulators, our civil society, to play a constructive and engaged part in these negotiations. The business communities on both sides of the Atlantic in particular have been a strong advocate of free trade and investment between Europe and United States. And this is also good for the rest of the world; given the integrated supply chains in today’s global markets, everyone can benefit from this agreement.
Integrating two of the most developed, most sophisticated and certainly the largest economies in the world can never be an easy task, but we will find convincing answers to legitimate concerns. We will find solutions to thorny issues. We will keep our eyes on the prize, and we will succeed.
So even if these negotiations may not always be easy, I’m sure they will be worth it, for the sake of the jobs it creates, and because of the strategic dimension of what we are doing, to write the next chapter of what is our common history, also forged by the sense that we share the same principles and values, the principles and values of open economies and open societies.
Well, thank you very much, David, and good afternoon. It is wonderful to be here in Lough Erne, and thank you so much to the people of Northern Ireland for their warm hospitality, and Prime Minister Cameron, thank you for all the outstanding arrangements.
Among the things we’ll discuss here are promoting new growth and jobs on both sides of the Atlantic, and I’m pleased to join these leaders to announce the launch of negotiations on a new trade agreement that will help us do just that: the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, also known as TTIP. I want to thank not only the gentlemen on this stage, but also President Hollande, Chancellor Merkel, Prime Minister Letta, and Taoiseach Kenny. We just had an excellent meeting, and I’m proud to say that America will have the opportunity to host the first round of negotiations next month in Washington.
As has already been mentioned, the US / EU relationship is the largest in the world. It makes up nearly half of global GDP. We trade about $1 trillion in goods and services each year. We invest nearly $4 trillion in each other’s economies. And all that supports around 13 million jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. And this potentially ground-breaking partnership would deepen those ties. It would increase exports, decrease barriers to trade and investment. As part of broader growth strategies in both our economies, it would support hundreds of thousands of jobs on both sides of the ocean.
So I’m pleased to hear that this negotiation enjoys the support not only of the countries that are here today, but also the broader EU membership. I can tell you that it’s been warmly received in the United States as well, both in our Congress and in our business community. And that broad support on both sides of the Atlantic will help us work through some of the tough issues that have already been mentioned.
There are going to be sensitivities on both sides. There are going to be politics on both sides. But if we can look beyond the narrow concerns to stay focused on the big picture, the economic and strategic importance of this partnership, I’m hopeful we can achieve the kind of high standard, comprehensive agreement that the global trading system is looking to us to develop.
America and Europe have done extraordinary things together before, and I believe we can forge an economic alliance as strong as our diplomatic and security alliances, which, of course, have been the most powerful in history. And by doing that, we can also strengthen the multilateral trading system.
So this Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is going to be a priority of mine and my administration. It is important that we get it right, and that means resisting the temptation to downsize our ambitions or avoid tough issues just for the sake of getting a deal. And then make sure also – it’s important that we also make sure that it’s part of an overall plan to do what it takes to promote growth and jobs. Trade is critical, but it is not alone a silver bullet; it has to be part of a comprehensive strategy that we pursue on both sides of the Atlantic.
Now, that’s what our people deserve. I very much look forward to working with my fellow leaders to make it happen. We’re going to give a strong mandate to our negotiators, but occasionally I suspect we’re going to have to intervene and break through some log jams. Nevertheless, I’m confident that we can – we can get it done.
So thank you very much.
President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. This is a special moment. At the last EU/US summit with President Obama, we jointly decided to see if launching such historical negotiations would be possible. It was, and now we can already start the talks. A year and a half ago, we were not even sure the place had a door, and now we are entering the negotiating room together.
It’s a sign of the strong political will on both sides. This February in the European Council, our European heads of state and government reiterated their support for a comprehensive trade and investment deal with the United States, a political signal formalised last Friday when ministers and the Irish Presidency formally gave their EU negotiators the green light to start the talks. It shows the political will to work together, to work together with our longstanding and most trusted partner on the essential objective for governments on either side of the Atlantic: growth, jobs and prosperity.
We both know there are no magic solutions; recent economic turbulence underlines it. But we cannot expect to harvest new jobs today; we can plant the seeds for the jobs of tomorrow. And that’s exactly what the trade agreement is about. Together, Europe and the United States are the backbone of the world economy. Opening up that space further for opportunities for business and consumers is simply common sense. Not just our own economies, but also those of our trading partners, will benefit. The positive ramifications will even go beyond the economy, as such. We are making our economies all over the world more inter-dependent and this will make the world safer.
What is at stake with a trans-Atlantic free trade area is to enshrine Europe and America’s role as the world’s standard status beyond product specifications by setting a positive force in shaping the way we work and the way we live our daily lives. This is of key strategic significance, ladies and gentlemen; the Atlantic is not the past, it is also the future.
And that’s why we are impatient to start, although we know that negotiations won’t be a smooth ride. Obviously, there are and will be sensitive issues on each side. With flexibility, open-mindedness and some creativity – the greatest asset for negotiators and statesmen – I’m confident we will find solutions; there is too much at stake. We’ll find these solutions not only because we know the great benefit it will bring, not only because we share the same rules-based approach at home and abroad in these matters, but also because trade is one vital part of our overall relationship. It will knit our trans‑Atlantic destinies even closer together.
The launch of our negotiations therefore stands for our continued, common commitment to engage with each other in order to engage with the world. The EU and its member states are ready to engage and look forward to the new trade landscape we will shape – will shape together.