This afternoon, Brussels
and Washington announced that the EU and the US are intending to
launch negotiations on a trade and investment agreement which could
result in the biggest bilateral trade deal ever negotiated. The
negotiations will commence once the relevant internal procedures for
approval have been completed.
The press release provides a broad outline of the three main areas which the parties are seeking to negotiate; market access, regulatory issues and non-tariff barriers and addressing shared global challenges and opportunities in the 21st century. Changes to the regulatory frameworks in particular could potentially have a significant impact on technology and life sciences businesses. If the EU and US can find common ground on standards and procedures and reach regulatory compatibility, for example in relation to pharmaceuticals or medical devices, the need to comply with two sets of regulatory approvals for products and the associated costs to businesses will be reduced.
A joint statement from United States President Barack Obama, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso can be found here.