The President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz has used a visit to Washington to call for a free trade deal between the EU and the US.
Speaking outside the White House, Schulz told reporters such an agreement would bolster struggling economies on both sides of the Atlantic.
“I was happy to hear that Vice President Biden and President Obama are committed to accelerate also on the US side the necessary steps to go forward and to start with the European Union to negotiate about a Free Trade Agreement”
Figures show the EU exported 260 billion euros of goods to the US in 2011 and bought US imports worth 184 billion.
“A transatlantic economic agreement would be a profound initiative for a second term for the President (Obama). It would be a signature agreement, it goes far beyond a transpacific partnership agreement.” said Daniel Hamilton from the Center for Transatlantic Relations.
Our Washington correspondent Stefan Grobe said: “The Obama administration might have strong feelings about Asia and the Pacific. But Martin Schulz reminded the Americans that when it comes to tackling the big issues of the future, the United States has no closer friend than Europe.”