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Berlin praises Obama's US-EU free trade plan

The Local · 13 Feb 2013, 13:12

Published: 13 Feb 2013 12:46 GMT+01:00
Updated: 13 Feb 2013 13:12 GMT+01:00

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"I welcome the fact that the president is pushing for further progress with nuclear disarmament," said Minister Westerwelle, who has also championed the cause of ridding the world of nuclear arms during his three years in office.

Nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons remain central concerns for global security, he said. "That's why I hope that Russia will take up the offer of further negotiations," added Westerwelle.

Westerwelle also praised Obama's new initiative to establish a free trade zone between the United States and the European Union.

The framework of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is expected to be drawn up this year. It would aim to remove protective tariffs on cars, food and computers to encourage more trade between the US and EU.

"I hope that a powerful political momentum builds up here and that the real work can happen quickly," he said.

Steffen Seibert, the German government spokesman, told a regular briefing that Berlin believed such an agreement would be "a valuable contribution for more growth and more jobs on both sides of the Atlantic."

"Our expectation is that ... in the course of the Irish (EU) Presidency (which runs until the end of June), the preconditions can be laid down for the beginning of negotiations," he said.

The German government's positive reaction to Obama's speech echoed earlier comments by parliamentary leader of the opposition Social Democrat Party (SPD), Frank Walter Steinmeier.

"It's certainly a signal to Europeans that we are still an important partner for the Americans," Steinmeier told ARD television channel on Wednesday.

Obama's speech, although heavily focused on US domestic affairs, had helped to ease Europe's concerns that the US was solely prioritizing Asia as a trading partner, said Steinmeier.

Story continues below…

The American Chamber of Commerce in Germany (AmCham Germany) estimated in a

statement released Wednesday that economic growth in both areas could be boosted by as much as 1.5 percent if a deal were negotiated. The US-EU trade relationship is currently worth $700 billion annually and provides some 14 million jobs, AmCham Germany said.

DAPD/AFP/The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:27 February 13, 2013 by raandy
Would this mean no more trips to to the treaded Zoll??
13:37 February 13, 2013 by Eric1
America under Obama, the welfare nation.
14:46 February 13, 2013 by TonyMey
"America under Obama, the welfare nation" WoW... another hater
18:32 February 13, 2013 by PNWDev

Stating a statistical fact makes one a hater? By that logic your blind and baseless defense makes you a sheep.

Look at the record number, and still growing, of people on the food stamp program. Its part of his 50+1 coalition,. Divide and conquer politics.
18:52 February 13, 2013 by jmclewis
In the USA it is making less sense to even bother to try to be Middle Class. The poor have better benefits, health care, housing, food. The upper middle still have decent life along with the most wealthy. Large Business in the USA is able to pervert the tax code with the help of the politicians. The middle class pays most of the bill not percentage on each person but because they are in the greatest numbers. The worst position to be in is a College Educated single white male with vast college debt. There are no hiring preferences for this guy. You have no dependents so benefits are non existent. The USA is so *ucked the education system is perverted as is politics. Most laws favor large corporations. Most Americans only care about one thing themselves. Also immigration is a huge problem these folks collect every benefit even if they are not in the country legally. They work illegal jobs and send the money back to the home country. In the end this Rome will fall too.
21:57 February 13, 2013 by zeddriver
Most people can't even get their head around how much national debt we have. Then when you figure in future obligations. It really gets scary. And most think that taxing everyone will fix it.

At the close of the federal government's 2011 fiscal year (September 30, 2011), the federal government had roughly:

• $7.3 trillion ($7,319,000,000,000) in liabilities such as federal employee retirement and veterans benefits.

• $18.8 trillion ($18,800,000,000,000) in unfunded obligations for current Social Security participants above and beyond projected revenues from their payroll and benefit taxes, certain transfers from the general fund of the U.S. Treasury, and assets of the Social Security trust fund.

• $24.4 trillion ($24,400,000,000,000) in obligations for current Medicare participants above and beyond projected revenues from their payroll taxes, benefit taxes, premium payments, and assets of the Medicare trust fund.

* The figures above are determined in a manner that approximates how publicly traded companies are required to calculate their liabilities and obligations. The obligations for Social Security and Medicare represent how much money must be immediately placed in interest-bearing investments to cover the projected shortfalls between dedicated revenues and expenditures for all current participants in these programs (both taxpayers and beneficiaries).

* Combining the figures above with the national debt and subtracting the value of federal assets, the federal government had about $60.9 trillion ($60,929,000,000,000) in debts, liabilities, and Social Security/Medicare obligations at the close of its 2011 fiscal year.

* This $60.9 trillion shortfall is 106% of the combined net worth of all U.S. households and nonprofit organizations, including all assets in savings, real estate, corporate stocks, private businesses, and consumer durable goods such as automobiles.

Yep! Take every cent from everyone in the US. And you would only pay off 50% of the debt.
02:34 February 14, 2013 by Eric1
11,000 per day are added to the food stamp program. More people join the welfare rolls than the employment rolls. The truth hurts all those people who are haters of the truth.
07:30 February 14, 2013 by zeddriver

This is a problem that cuts across both US Or more precisely, ALL political parties in ALL nations. You must remember also that ALL political parties gain by the ignorance of the citizens as to what the real problem is. They the politicians are very, very skilled at wording things in such a way that after listening to them. You might be convinced that the worlds problems are your Moms fault.

Ben Franklin had this to say ¦quot;When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.¦quot;

When asked by a citizen after the signing of the Constitution what form of government the founders had instituted, Ben Franklin replied, ¦quot;a republic...if you can keep it.¦quot;

Why did our founding faather see our constitutional republic as so fragile? Well, it was in part because it had never been tried before, but they also understood all too well that self-government based on liberty will disintegrate and ultimately turn to tyranny when liberty turns to license. When a society decides that freedom means nothing more than the right to do or demand anything we want at any time. When freedom is based strictly on an ever-expanding body of rights untethered from responsibility. When people vote into office those who will make everyone pay for an ever-expanding universe of entitlements. This creates exactly the type of large, powerful, distant and unaccountable government against which we fought a revolution.
11:58 February 14, 2013 by DrWho
What would really help, would be the merging of car specifications and safety tests. Imagine how much it would save car companies if they didn't have to do separate tests for the US and German markets. The USA could easily export cars to Germany, and vise-versa, without having to change out taillights, mirrors and windshields to meet antiquated regulations. Cars imported the USA have to go though registered importers, which makes it incredibly expensive to import German cars to the USA.
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