Issue Date: November 10, 2008
Trans-Atlantic Free-Trade Pact Floated By Industry
With the nearly seven-year-old round of global trade liberalization talks bogged down over agricultural subsidies and other issues, the National Association of Manufacturers is calling for an in-depth study of a trans-Atlantic free-trade area between the European Union and either the U.S. or the three NAFTA nations. "If we were to have such a huge free-trade area—a real integrated trans-Atlantic marketplace—it could well be a magnet for other countries wanting to join," says NAM President John Engler, who detailed his proposal in a recent address to the Flanders Chamber of Commerce & Industry, in Leuven, Belgium. Engler says there is little chance that a deal will be struck this year under the World Trade Organization's Doha Development Round negotiations, which began in 2001. Its objective is to lower trade barriers around the world, allowing countries to increase trade globally. "Rather than spell WTO's doom, as some might warn, a U.S.-EU agreement could jog the rest of the world into realizing that they will be left behind unless they adopt a proliberalization attitude and press for quicker negotiations in the WTO," Engler says.
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