The U.S. and the European Union will today attempt to agree on a new date for trans-Atlantic trade talks, after this week’s negotiations were canceled because of the partial shutdown of the U.S. government.
Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Dan Mullaney is scheduled to meet with EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht in Brussels after Washington called off the second round of talks to seal a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
De Gucht said the postponement of weeklong negotiations, due to start today, is “clearly regrettable,” but “in no way distracts us from our overall aim of achieving an ambitious trade and investment deal.” Brussels and Washington are “strongly committed to see the process through,” he insisted.
The first round of talks in Washington in July were overshadowed by reports that the U.S. National Security Agency had been bugging EU offices in the U.S. capital and New York and those of several EU member states.
The two sides are under pressure to agree on an early date to resume negotiations, in order to achieve their goal of reaching a deal by the end of 2014, as the European Commission’s term ends in November of that year and the U.S. holds mid-term elections.
A third round of talks has already been planned for December.
The U.S. and the 28-nation EU claim a deal could boost annual output by $100 billion on each side of the Atlantic and create a single market of some 800 consumers.