EU hopes for 'skeleton' of US trade deal by year-end

European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom addresses a press conference on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels on January 7, 2015The EU said Wednesday it hopes the “skeleton” of a massive but controversial free trade deal with the United States will be ready by the end of this year, lowering sights set at a summit last month. Talks on the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Pact), which would be the world’s biggest trade deal, began 19 months ago and are still under way, with the next round due in February. “We hope that we can work as efficiently as possible with the Americans, hopefully in the best of scenarios to have the skeleton ready by the end of the year,” EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem told reporters. EU leaders agreed at a December 19 summit in the Belgian capital that Brussels and Washington “should make all efforts to conclude negotiations” on TTIP by the end of 2015.

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