Zero-tariff trading agreement between US and Europe urged

25 Jan 2011

The president and CEO of the US Chamber of Commerce has urged the creation of a zero-tariff trade agreement between Europe and the US that would generate an extra US$120bn of revenue by 2014, trillions of dollars of revenue in the longer term and help both regions face competition from rising economies like China.

Speaking in Dublin yesterday, the president and CEO of the US Chamber of Commerce, Thomas J Donohue, said the US and the EU must never forget their destinies are tied closely together.

He said a zero-tariff trading alliance would generate trillions of dollars of new revenues and that countries like Ireland would be among the earliest beneficiaries.

“The numbers make this crystal clear. The EU and the US share a US$4.3trn commercial relationship and share 40pc of global trade.

“In Ireland, US companies have invested US$165bn, more than any in Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC nations) combined. In the US, Irish companies employ 82,000 Americans in all 50 states.

“Because we are so interdependent, both the EU and US economies must be successful or neither can be successful.”

A zero-tariff trading alliance between US and Europe

Donohue described the trading alliance that exists between the EU and the US as currently the most important trade alliance in the world.

“One idea is to strike an agreement between the US and EU that would simply eliminate all tariffs on trade and trade of goods. This would boost Atlantic trade by US$120bn by 2015.

“In four years, if there was a pick-up of US$120bn dollars in trans-Atlantic trade, Irish American companies would be among the first beneficiaries.

“Wouldn’t such a bold move turn heads around the world?

“We should get real momentum behind the idea. The Brazilians, Chinese and others would then get very interested in a global trade agreement, and this would strengthen the global finance system.

Donohue said a trans-Atlantic partnership would be strategic and help both the US and EU manage China’s rise and strengthen their trading relationships to compete with other trading blocks.

Donohue expressed his belief that the Irish economy will soon return to growth. “The Irish economy is proving resilient in the face of extremely difficult circumstances.

“The Irish economy will grow this year and beyond. Export profits are robust and this is one of the strongest economic pillars. The country continues to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) and we will continue to see a significant pot of American investment.

“Most importantly, Ireland is an innovative and highly entrepreneurial society, entrepreneurial activity is increasing.

“There are too many strategic advantages for global investors to ignore for long,” Donohue said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years