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G8 leaders agree to negotiate 'the biggest bilateral trade deal in history'

Following negotiations today, EU and US leaders have agreed to hold more negotiations on a massive trade deal.

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THE LEADERS OF the European Union and the United States have agreed to begin negotiations on what British Prime Minister David Cameron has said could be the “biggest bilateral trade deal in history”.

Following discussions at Lough Erne in Co Fermanagh this afternoon, Taoiseach Enda Kenny was among those watching on as Cameron, US President Barack Obama, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman van Rompuy announced an agreement to begin negotiations on TTIP.

Negotiations on the Transtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will begin in Washington next month with all four leaders emphasising that talks would be complex and not without difficulty.

Cameron said it would potentially be a “landmark deal” between the European Union and the United States that could add as much as £100 billion (€120 billion) to the EU economy, £80 billion (€100 billion) to the US economy and as much £85 billion to the rest of the world’s economy.

The Conservative Prime Minister said this could mean millions of more jobs for citizens on both sides of the Atlantic and cheaper prices in our shops.

“We’re talking about what could be the biggest bilateral trade deal in history,” Cameron told the world’s media at Lough Erne. He said this was a “once in a generation prize” that leaders were determined to seize.

G8 leaders and Enda Kenny discuss trade at a meeting in Lough Erne earlier today. Pic: Merrion Street Twitter.

‘Not a smooth ride’

Also speaking this afternoon, President Obama said that negotiations would begin in Washington next month and thanked EU leaders including Taoiseach Enda Kenny who was part of negotiations this afternoon.

“We just had an excellent meeting,” Obama said of talks held today.

Obama said the importance of a deal was underlined by the fact that together the EU and the US accounted for around half of the world’s gross domestic product.

“America and Europe have done extraordinary things together before,” he said adding that the TTIP would be a priority of his and his administration.

President Barroso said he hoped to make “rapid progress” on a deal that would bring “huge economic benefits” and would not have been conceivable as recently as two years ago.

“We will keep our eyes on the prize and we will succeed,” the Portuguese politician said.

Barroso’s European Council counterpart Van Rompuy said today was a “special moment” but acknowledged that the talks “would not be a smooth ride”.

Infographic: This is how much the UK thinks an EU-US trade deal could be worth

Read: Everything you need to know about the G8, but were afraid to ask

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell @ G8

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