Germany calls for sweeping EU-US free trade deal

Germany calls for sweeping EU-US free trade deal

Mr Roesler told Der Spiegel magazine on Sunday he and the German government want a sweeping free trade deal, while France and southern EU nations, by contrast, want to protect their agriculture industry with regulations and also keep out genetically modified US foodstuffs, the magazine said.

The United States and the EU aim to start negotiating a vast free trade pact by June, but the plan faces many hurdles before it could help revive the world’s top two economies.

The deal would be the most ambitious since the founding of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995, embracing half of world output and a third of trade.

But after a year of preparatory discussions between Brussels and Washington, major differences remain, such as EU resistance to importing US foodstuffs that are genetically modified.

Once the US Congress is notified and all 27 EU states assent to the talks going ahead, the sides hope for a deal by the end of 2014 – a tight deadline in international trade talks.

The deal has support at the highest level – it was mentioned by US President Barack Obama in his speech to Congress and cast as a central pillar of Britain’s G8 presidency this year.

With import tariffs between the two already limited, at an average of 4pc, talks will focus on harmonising standards – from car seat belts to household cleaning products – and regulations governing services.

Source: Reuters

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