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Transatlantic trade called win-win growth formula for USA and Europe

John J. Metzler

NEW YORK — “Trade is the cheapest way to produce growth,” exclaimed European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso before an executive audience adding, that a planned Transatlantic trade pact between the USA and Europe Union would produce a “win-win solution in trade” for both sides of the Atlantic.

“Our partnership,” stated President Barroso, “has developed into the most prosperous and dynamic economic bond in the world ever, and it still is, accounting for nearly half of global GDP and almost one third of world trade.” Indeed, “For decades, this bond between the two most developed economic blocs in the world has been the driver for growth and jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.”

Jose Manuel Barroso.

Jose Manuel Barroso.

“Transatlantic trade is already highly developed, Barroso stressed that trade between the both sides of the Atlantic reaches $2.7 billion daily! He added that $3.7 trillion are invested across the Atlantic by both American and European companies. Barroso highlighted that the European Union combined 27 economies remain the “the largest economy in the world.”

“That is the logic behind the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership on which negotiations should begin before the summer,” he advised.

Speaking at an event sponsored jointly by Bloomberg business and European American Chamber of Commerce, Barroso, a former Portuguese Prime Minister and European Commission President since 2004, praised the initial stages of a Transatlantic Trade partnership which would both simplify and expand commerce between the USA and EU.

The pact would trim tariffs, red tape, and duplicate rules in bid to streamline commerce.

He stated confidently that such a commercial pact would add 0.5 percent in GDP growth for both sides.

He conceded that given the global economy, “The EU was very hard hit by the crisis” and that “the return to growth will be gradual.”

Looking at the wider picture, President Barroso conceded that a hindrance to Europe’s growth was “excessive public debt.” He added that the EU’s debt ratio stood at 82 percent of GDP; which was surpassed by the USA whose debt exceeds 103 percent of GDP or Japan’s dangerously high debt of 230 percent of GDP.

On the positive side, the Barroso outlined that Europe is “the largest host of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the world.

For example German business investment in the USA surpassed $216 billion with over 3,500 German owned firms creating 600,000 jobs in the USA. A prime example of this would be BMW’s $5 billion plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The facility produces Sports Activity Vehicles, 300,000 of which were made in 2012. The factory employs 7,000 workers. Equally American investments and brands have become commonplace in Europe.

Barroso implored, “I believe that the EU-US trade negotiations are a game changer and can be the start of a new era.” He added, “They will further intensify the economic relationship between the United States and European Union, two economic giants eager to be as successful in the future as they were in the past.”

Current USA trade relations with European countries are nothing less than impressive.

For example, two-way trade between the USA and the European Union’s 27 member countries reached $646 billion in 2012, actually higher than American bilateral trade with China. French imports and exports reached $72 billion last year, our trade with the United Kingdom stood at $110 billion, and the two-way trade with Germany climbed to $157 billion.

“We believe free trade has a future,” President Barroso stressed, “and we are willing to invest in it.” Hopefully there will be enough common ground and common sense in Washington to pursue this “win-win” opportunity for both sides of the Atlantic.

John J. Metzler is a U.N. correspondent covering diplomatic and defense issues. He writes weekly for WorldTribune.com.

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