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Europe

Brussels Mulls Transatlantic Trade Body

Officials in Brussels are currently considering a Spanish plan to create a high-level transatlantic trade body. The idea has been proposed by Spain, which would like to see trade barriers lifted.

Officials in Brussels are currently considering a Spanish plan to create a high-level transatlantic trade body. In a letter seen by the EUobserver, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar has asked European Commission President Romano Prodi to comment on plans to create a "high-level bilateral economic committee" to drive a transatlantic economic zone by the end of 2014. The Spanish government hopes to have the plan approved in time to announce the formation of the committee at the EU-US summit in June. The Spanish proposal would see the committee create an action plan to remove obstacles in the transatlantic market within 12 months, including barriers in the telecoms, digital economy, air transport, financial service and regulation of competition areas by 2010. But the Commission is split on the matter according to insiders, with questions being raised about the effect upon the multilateral trading system and the attitudes of EU member states. There are increasing fears that the EU and US would be seen to be setting up a directorate of world trade or a so called "G2" at a time when the World Trade Organization's "Development Round" has yet to be resuscitated. ( Euobserver.com)