Putting tensions over alleged electronic eavesdropping to one side, the US and EU have resumed efforts to hammer out what would be the world’s biggest free-trade deal.
Negotiators have started a week-long round of talks in Brussels, postponed from October amid the US government shutdown. And despite difficult times of late, both sides know they have a lot to gain.
Our correspondent at the talks, Efi Koutsokosta, said: “Washington and Brussels hope that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will boost growth on both sides of the Atlantic. By removing tariffs and harmonising regulations on a wide range of products, it is estimated that the EU will increase its GDP by 0.5 percent on an annual basis by 2027 and a total of two million jobs will be created in the EU and USA.”
European governments want explanations amid press reports that the US National Security Agency monitored the mobile phones of senior officials, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel. France and Spain were also upset by claims of mass surveillance of their communications.
US Secretary of State John Kerry argued that such concerns should not be allowed to cloud talks on creating what he said would be the most powerful marketplace on the face of the planet.