President Obama, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker… (Charles Dharapak / Associated…)
The U.S. and European leaders are working on a new agreement they say could expand transatlantic trade and investment, officials announced Wednesday morning.
In a statement, President Obama and European Union leaders said they are launching talks within their governments to negotiate a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
“The transatlantic economic relationship is already the world’s largest, accounting for half of global economic output and nearly $1 trillion in goods and services trade, and supporting millions of jobs on both sides of the Atlantic," according to a joint statement from Obama, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President José Manuel Barros.
“We are committed to making this relationship an even stronger driver of our prosperity," they wrote.
The announcement comes hours after Obama announced the negotiations in his State of the Union address, a speech before Congress that focused tightly on creating jobs and promoting growth. Administration officials say increased transparency and reduction of trade barriers with Europe will support and create American jobs.
The president will be talking about that issue Wednesday as he travels to Asheville, N.C., on a trip designed to highlight the initiatives of his second term in office.
Obama is scheduled to visit the Linamar factory, which produces heavy-duty engine and driveline components.
In 2011, the company announced it was opening a new facility, its fourth in the U.S., on the site of a closed Volvo Construction Equipment plant in Asheville. Linamar has since hired 160 workers and plans to hire 40 more by the end of the year, according to administration officials.
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