Wednesday, February 19, 2014

US, EU to speed up trans-Atlantic free trade talks

The United States and the European Union have agreed to speed up their negotiations aimed at creating a trans-Atlantic free trade zone.

US Trade Representative Michael Froman and EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht ended two days of talks in Washington on Tuesday.

They focused on removing all tariffs and relaxing trade-related regulations while securing consumer health and safety.

US and EU negotiators have held three rounds of working-level talks since July. Last week, they proposed timelines to remove tariffs on farm and industrial products, but failed to agree on easing food safety regulations.
US and EU officials plan to hold a fourth round of working-level talks on March 10th in Brussels.

The United States sees a free trade deal with the EU and the Trans-Pacific Partnership pact as twin pillars of its trade policy. But the two parties are reportedly far apart on reviewing food safety regulations.