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Obama: US can help Europe reduce Russian gas imports

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Obama: US can help Europe reduce Russian gas imports
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A planned free trade deal between the EU and US will make it easier for Europe to buy American gas imports, US President Barack Obama said on Wednesday.

The president of the United States told reporters in Brussels that the agreement currently under negotiation would help the EU reduce its dependency on Russian gas.

He said America already exports as much as natural gas per day as Europe uses daily.

“I think it is useful for Europe to look at its own energy assets as well as how the United States can supply additional energy assets,” Obama told reporters.

The European Commission says a deal scrapping existing trade barriers would boost EU growth by 0.5 percent a year.

It also reckons the US economy would grow by 0.4 percent annually.

Obama also vowed that any pact would not be a race to the bottom, saying he would not back such an agreement.

He said: “Our publics both in the United States and in Europe have legitimate questions when it comes to trade deals as to whether or not it is going to benefit their countries over the long term, and can we make sure that hard won victories around consumer protection or environmental protection are preserved as opposed to weakened.”

Euronews correspondent Sandor Zsiros reports that it was the first time that Barack Obama visited the EU headquarters during his presidency.

But the Belgian capital will host him again soon, our correspondent adds, as the G7 will meet there in June.

It comes after the club decided on Monday to suspend Russia from the G8 “indefinitely”.