EU, U.S. Must Discuss ‘Everything’ in FTA Talks, de Gucht Says

The European Union and the U.S. must be prepared to “talk about everything” as they prepare to negotiate a free-trade agreement, European Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht said.

A trade pact with the world’s biggest economy could give a boost of at least 0.5 percentage point to the European economy and both sides should seek to be ambitious to make the talks as far-reaching as possible, de Gucht said in Sitges, Spain today.

An accord would ease regulations, remove tariffs and bolster trade and investment in goods and services between the U.S. and Europe that amounted to $4.9 trillion in 2011, according to EU figures.

“We will have red lines in the negotiations but we have to have the courage to talk about everything unless we end up with very little,” de Gucht said.

De Gucht said he hopes the mandate to negotiate the free-trade pact with the U.S. will come this month. “Once we have this mandate, it’s up to the Commission to negotiate,” he said.

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