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Foreign Minister Urmas Paet: We Support Starting Negotiations for EU-USA Free Trade Agreement Very Soon


No 161-E

Today the government decided to support giving the European Commission a mandate to begin negotiations between the European Union and United States for a trade and investment partnership agreement. “Estonia would like for the negotiations between the EU and USA to start in the middle of this year already,” emphasised Foreign Minister Urmas Paet.

The foreign minister stated that it is important for both Estonia and the European Union in general to continue liberalising trade and concluding comprehensive free trade agreements. “This gives entrepreneurs more security in entering new markets and doing business there,” said Foreign Minister Paet.

The European Union and the United States of America are two of the most important markets in the global economy. “The EU and the USA together produce about half of the world’s GDP and their bilateral trade makes up a third of the world’s trade,” said Paet.

The foreign minister added that in 2011 the EU exported 260 billion euros’ worth of goods to the USA as well as 127 billion euros worth of services. “These numbers speak powerfully to how close Europe and the USA’s economic and trade relations are. This is why the creation of a trans-Atlantic free trade area is a logical and very necessary step on the road to facilitating these relations and making them even more effective,” stated Urmas Paet.

Paet also noted that giving the European Commission a comprehensive mandate for negotiations is essential so that the Commission would have enough flexibility in negotiations. “The United States is an equal negotiating partner to the European Union, and both sides would benefit from an agreement that is as comprehensive as possible,” the foreign minister explained.

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