US proposes free trade agreement with EU
A free trade agreement between the United States and the European Union is on its ways as both suffer from tough economic times and pressure from China’s continuous economic growth. Those who are in support of this agreement hope to see not only economic growth but also lower prices on consumer products. However, a definite agreement has not yet been made. Talks between both sides will only begin towards the end of May and many believe this process will be lengthy, as the interests of both parties must be met. Similar initiatives have been proposed in the past but have failed. The United States and the EU have never been able to see eye to eye on matters such as genetically modified food which many Europeans call ‘frankenfoods’. Although these agricultural goods are not widely accepted in Europe this transatlantic agreement could mean genetically modified foods will find its way from the US in the EU. Further, discussions on agriculture, safety regulations on cars and pharmaceuticals may also be a roadblock to an agreement. Some continue to be optimistic and believe free trade would be beneficial to all. This transatlantic agreement would remove the 3% tariff that is placed on goods and would only increase the amount of exchanges between both parties which last year alone amounted to $646 billion.
Keystone XL pipeline
The creation of the Keystone XL pipeline that would run from the tar sands of Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico had looked promising only a few weeks ago. But President Obama appears now hesitant to go along with this multi billion-dollar project. In his inaugural speech Obama had gained the support of many environmentalists by promising to reduce carbon emissions and target climate change. However, by giving the okay on this project he would be going back on his word and loose the support of those who were hoping to see environmental issues finally addressed. But it’s not only the environmentalists who are preventing the creation of this pipeline. First nations in northern BC are also raising their voice against the creation of the pipeline, which they too believe will have a serious environmental impact. In addition, recent oil discoveries in the US have reduced the need to import oil from Canada, and the shift in energy supply to shale gas will reduce dependency on oil. Thus, all these contributing factors maybe what prevents the creation of this pipeline, but no final decision has yet been made.