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US trade chief to visit France amid possible TTIP revival
[WASHINGTON] US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will travel to France for high-level meetings next week to press American economic goals including reducing the trade deficit, his office announced Thursday.
The trip comes as the Trump administration has held out the possibility of resuming negotiations with Europe for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
Mr Lighthizer will meet with some of his European counterparts on the sidelines of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ministerial meeting June 7-8, the US Trade Representative's office said.
Mr Lighthizer will "advocate for US economic interests including free and fair trade policies that eliminate trade barriers and reduce deficits," the USTR said in a statement.
Trump administration officials have said they prefer bilateral trade agreements to multilateral deals, and already scrapped the 12-nation Transpacific Partnership negotiated by the Obama administration.
The White House also launched the process to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, with Mexico and Canada, which Mr Trump has described as a "disaster". But Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said earlier this week that it "makes sense" to continue the TTIP negotiations with a view towards reducing US trade deficits.
Mr Lighthizer's trip comes just after Mr Trump returned from a summit with European leaders that included some tense moments, and increased frictions with Germany. Mr Trump this week vowed to end the "massive" trade deficit with Germany which he said on Twitter was "Very bad for US".