Cabinet meeting 135

Gilmore hails free trade move

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore, has welcomed the announcement by President Obama that the United States will launch talks on a comprehensive free trade agreement with the European Union.

President Obama made the announcement during his annual State of the Union address last week, dubbing it a "comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership."

"Securing a negotiating mandate for a comprehensive free-trade agreement with the United States was a top priority for the government when we established the jobs and growth agenda for the Irish Presidency of the EU," said Gilmore, referring to the current six-month Irish presidency of the European Union.

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"This now opens up enormous untapped potential for a new phase in Europe's economic relations with the U.S. I anticipate that these negotiations will begin during the Irish Presidency, and we will of course make the most of Ireland's close relationship with the U.S. to get talks off to a good start. I look forward to engaging in constructive dialogue with our U.S. colleagues as we begin working on this together," the Tánaiste (deputy prime minister) said.