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The Next Big Transatlantic Project: A Free Trade Area Plus

The rising economies in Asia and South America have been hyped for many years in the US and European media. Now, finally, there is a renewed focus on transatlantic free trade because the United States and the European Union "remain the anchor of the global economy. Together, they produce more than 50 percent of the world's gross domestic product and account for almost 30 percent of global trade. Europe buys three times more U.S. products than China, and European investment in California alone is greater than all U.S. investment in China and Japan put together."

Stuart E. Eizenstat, a former deputy secretary of the Treasury, and Daniel S. Hamilton of Johns Hopkins University, describe how the new Trans-Atlantic Partnership could look like:

Eliminate tariffs on trade goods. At about 3 to 4 percent on average, U.S. and EU tariffs are relatively low, but the volume of trade is so huge that eliminating tariffs could increase annual GDP in the United States by almost 1.5 percent, in Europe by almost 0.5 percent, and increase the exports of each by 17 percent - about five times more than the recent U.S.-Korea free-trade agreement.

Liberalize trade in services such as telecommunications, utilities, insurance, advertising, computers and finance. Services account for some 70 percent of both the U.S. and EU economies. The United States and the European Union are each other's most important commercial partners and each other's major markets for services trade and investment. In 2010, EU companies sold $610 billion in services to the United States, and U.S. companies sold $820 billion to Europe. (...)

Align or mutually recognize regulations and standards. (...) If the United States and the European Union would recognize each other's crash tests and related standards, consumers could save up to 7 percent on each car or truck.

Read the full article in the San Francisco Chronicle.

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