The European Union and the United States said today that they would thrash out a transatlantic free trade deal.
The EU said it would be the biggest bilateral trade deal ever and claimed that it could boost EU economic output by 0.5 per cent.
"Both of us need growth," said European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso. "And both of us have budgetary problems."
Trade between the US and EU is already huge, reaching €2 billion (£1.7bn) a day.
The goal would be to remove import tariffs, which average 4 per cent, but in the process it would also limit the ability of governments to subsidise or develop specific industries.
US President Barack Obama said: "The US and EU will have the opportunity not only to expand trade and investment… but also to contribute to the development of global rules that can strengthen the multilateral trading system."
Foreign Minister Alistair Burt's admission that the Cameron government has "supported" a survey of attitudes to US drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas amounts to a tacit admission of British involvement.