Talks between the United States and the European Union on the world’s biggest trade deal seem to have got off to a good start, but the hard bargaining is yet to come.
Daniel Mullaney, the US chief negotiator said: “The goal of the first round was to walk through, cover, all of the major areas that may be addressed.”
His EU counterpart, Ignacio Garcia-Bercero, would not be drawn on which issues would be the most difficult saying that would be premature.
Garcia-Bercero did say: “We are striving for an ambitious trade and investment deal that will boost the transatlantic economy, delivering jobs and growth for both Europeans and Americans.”
Potential sticking points include financial services.
The two sides are aiming to reach a comprehensive trade agreement by the end of next year.
It would eliminate remaining tariffs on each others’ goods and reduce regulatory barriers to trade in a wide range of areas.
Asked if they would be able to finish the deal in 18 months, the US negotiator said: “It’s important to us that we arrive at a deal quickly,” but he added: “It’s even more important that we get the agreement right.”
The next round of talks will be in Brussels in October.