Posted by orrinj at 3:36 PM
OUR REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT:
Major exporters Germany and Britain appear to have won support from the rest of the European Union at a summit in Brussels to reach a deal with Washington that many leaders hope will help Europe pull out of its banking and debt crises. According to the draft of the final summit statement obtained by Reuters, the European Union will give "its support for a comprehensive trade agreement" with the United States.
"All efforts should be devoted to pursuing agreements with key partners," EU leaders will say, putting the United States at the top of a long list including Japan and Canada.
The EU leaders' statement raises expectations that U.S. President Barack Obama may endorse the initiative next Tuesday in his annual State of the Union speech, which presidents traditionally use to lay out their priorities for the year. Obama and EU leaders tasked their trade chiefs in 2011 to look at whether it was feasible to agree a deal to further integrate the two blocs that already have low tariffs.
A U.S.-EU draft proposal drawn up by EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk is essentially ready. De Gucht, who went to Washington this week, has given strong signals that there is enough common ground to go ahead with negotiations.