Thursday, 13 December 2012

Questions (54)

Brendan Smith

Question:

54. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he raised the matter of the EU-US trade agreement with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her recent visit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56192/12]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The EU and the US are two of the world’s largest trading blocs and already have very strong trading and investment ties with each other. The joint EU-US High Level Group on Jobs and Growth, set up following the last EU-US Summit in November 2011, was tasked with identifying policies and measures to increase EU-US trade and investment including a possible Trade and Investment Agreement to support mutually beneficial job creation, economic growth, and international competitiveness. That High Level Group is due to issue its final report in the near future. During my meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on 6 December last we discussed the importance of laying the ground for such an Agreement, should a decision be made to open negotiations during Ireland’s forthcoming Presidency of the EU. The jobs and growth agenda will be a priority of Ireland’s EU Presidency and in that context achieving agreement on a negotiating mandate would be an important development.