[BERLIN] Europe and the United States should wrap up the US-European free trade deal this year or people will start thinking it might never happen, US Trade Representative Michael Froman told a German newspaper in an interview published on Friday.
Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to discuss the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with US President Barack Obama when he visits a trade show in Hanover on Sunday and Monday. The visit comes at a time when support for TTIP has plunged in Germany and the United States.
MR Froman told Handelsblatt newspaper he wanted an agreement on TTIP this year but this should not be at any cost. "We won't agree to a sort of 'TTIP Lite'," he added.
Asked whether it was realistic to conclude talks on TTIP in 2016, Mr Froman said the EU and the US had a "unique opportunity" if both sides had the political will for an agreement and added: "If we don't get it done, then we create a great deal of uncertainty on whether we will ever get it done."
On Wednesday German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel put the ball in the United States' court, saying TTIP negotiations were "frozen up" and their success or failure very much depended on Washington.