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Wed, 13 Feb, 2013 11:53:37 PM
Negotiation soon
FTimes Report, February 13


The European Union and the United States will launch negotiations on a free trade agreement, said a foreign ministry press release on Wednesday.

A working group consisting of EU and U.S. representatives has decided to recommend that the talks be launched. 

The European Council already gave its support for trade agreement talks in the meeting in early February with in intention is to launch the actual negotiations by this year.

Finland has given its support for the agreement as the U.S. is Finland's third largest export destination outside the EU after China and Russia.

In 2011, Finnish exports to the U.S. amounted to EUR 2.6 billion where the total import was EUR 1.4 billion.

If the free trade agreement is implemented, customs duties will be exempted with certain exceptions and the standards would be harmonised. 

Access of European companies into the U.S. market in the services trade sector would become easier and in public procurement, European companies would be on the same line with their American counterparts.

"Ordinary Finns would be benefited from the agreement as reductions in the prices of American products. For small and medium-sized companies, on the other hand, it would become easier than before to seek entry into the U.S. market, as unnecessary technical barriers were removed," said Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade Alexander Stubb.

According to preliminary estimates, removal of customs duties and other trade barriers could increase the gross domestic product within the European Union by more than one percent. The EU Commission has estimated that, as a result of the agreement, exports to the U.S. could increase by as much as 18 percent.

"Economic growth and enhanced employment now require increase in demand, which the EU internal market alone cannot provide. The agreement would offer a boost for trade on both sides of the Atlantic," Stubb added.

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