U.S. President Barack Obama announced in his State of the Union address last week the start of discussions with the European Union about a so-called Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership that would go beyond the classic format of removing tariffs and opening markets. A high-level working group is being set up to deal with all the related issues. The proposed deal, whose announcement has been echoed by the European Commission, could spur annual GDP growth by 0.5 percent in the EU and by 0.4 percent in the U.S. The EU recently struck a free trade agreement with South Korea. Proposals have been made for similar trade pacts by the EU with Canada, Vietnam and India. Import duties on finished footwear currently range from 8 to 17 percent in the U.S. and from 8.5 to 37.5 percent in the EU.