Arab Today, arab today g8 summit gets underway launching formal talks on free trade agreement
Last Updated : GMT 15:56:04
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

G8 summit gets underway, launching formal talks on free trade agreement

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today G8 summit gets underway, launching formal talks on free trade agreement

Lough Erne - XINHUA

The summit of the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized nations is taking place at the Lough Erne resort with the launch of formal negotiations on a free trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and the United States. \"We are talking about what could be the biggest bilateral deal in history,\" British Prime Minister David Cameron said at a joint media conference. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and U.S. President Barack Obama both said the negotiations would begin next month. The first round of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations will reportedly take place at the week of July 8 in Washington, D.C., under the leadership of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The U.S. and the EU already have the largest economic relationship in the world, accounting for half of global economic output and 30 percent of world trade. The transatlantic trade deal will aim to eliminate all tariffs on trade and create the largest free trade area in the world. Senior EU officials announced last Friday that EU member states had reached an agreement to grant a mandate to the European Commission for negotiating the free trade deal, but the audio-visual sector would not be in the mandate at this moment. The partial mandate is a result of determined opposition from France which has been insisting that it will not allow the transatlantic negotiations to begin unless the European Commission agreed to take all audio-visual issues off the table in advance. French Minister for Foreign Trade Nicole Bricq said that if further opened up to the United States, the survival of its cultural sectors would be at risk, as U.S. companies would bring along \"technological revolutions\" that French companies would find it difficult to adapt. The leaders attending the summit include Obama, Cameron, Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, French President Francois Hollande, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Barroso. Apart from the conflict in Syria, the two-day summit will also focus on economic and taxation issues. The summit is taking place behind tight security, with 8,000 police on duty around the venue. So far, no large number of protesters have been reported in Enniskillen, less than 10 km away from the Lough Erne resort. Few anti-G8 protesters have set up tents near Enniskillen Castle.

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