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European Union and United States will launch negotiations for transatlantic free trade agreement

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"The Commission will move quickly to present a negotiating mandate to our Member States so we can start negotiations as soon as possible, still during the Irish Presidency of the Council," said President Barroso at the press conference on Wednesday afternoon.

At the beginning of his statement, President Barroso warmly welcomed the commitment of President Obama to this shared goal: "I look forward to working closely with him to achieve this," he said.

He underlined that a future deal between the world's two most important economic powers will be a game-changer: it will form the largest free trade zone in the world and as such will set the standard – not only for our future bilateral trade and investment, including regulatory issues, but also for the development of global trade rules.

President Barroso emphasised the benefits the future deal will bring in terms of a strong boost to the economies on both sides of the Atlantic: "It will be a comprehensive agreement going beyond tariffs, by integrating markets and removing barriers. It is estimated that, when this agreement is up and running, the European economy will get a stimulus of half a percent of our GDP – which translates into tens of billions of euros every year and tens of thousands of new jobs … And most important of all: it is a boost to our economies that doesn't cost a cent of tax payers' money."

"The sooner we start, the sooner we can reach a successful conclusion and put in place the biggest bilateral trade deal ever negotiated," concluded the President.

Read the full speech by the President

Statement from U.S. President Barack Obama, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso

Final report of the High-Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth

Read more on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

Read the remarks by EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht

Watch the video