Press Release 37/2013
The European Union and the United States will launch negotiations on a free trade agreement. 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 held at the beginning of February. The intention is to launch the actual negotiations later this year.
Finland gives its support for the agreement. After China and Russia, the U.S. is Finland’s third largest export destination outside the EU. In 2011, Finnish exports to the U.S. amounted to EUR 2.6 billion and the imports to EUR 1.4 billion. As a result of the free trade agreement, for example, customs duties would be eliminated, with certain exceptions, and, for instance, 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 benefit 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 per cent. The EU Commission has estimated that, as a result of the agreement, exports to the U.S. could increase by as much as 18 per cent.
“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 points out.
Additional information: Lauri Tierala, Special Adviser to the Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade, tel. +358 40 841 7141; and Okko-Pekka Salmimies, Head of Unit, tel. +358 40 742 8420