EU and US commence free-trade talks

<p>The EU and US have commenced their free-trade talks.</p>

The European Union and US have commenced free-trade talks , paving the way for the biggest deal of its kind in history.

European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso made the announcement after Barack Obama gave his State of the Union speech in the House of Representatives yesterday (February 12th) and both parties released a joint statement saying the deal would support growth and employment on both sides of the Atlantic.

Indeed, a deal of this magnitude would bring down trade barriers between two of the biggest economies on the planet, with EU-US trade worth around €455 billion (£393 billion) annually.

The EU estimates the agreement would boost yearly gross domestic product growth by 0.5 per cent.

The statement said: "We are committed to making this relationship an even stronger driver of our prosperity."

At close of play in Europe, the Dax in Frankfurt slipped by 0.6 per cent to an index value of 7711.8 points, while across the pond, the Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated by 0.3 per cent to 13964.6 points.

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