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Obama defends mega free-trade deal

US President Barack Obama delivers a speech at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels on March 26, 2014US President Barack Obama sought on Wednesday to allay fears that a mega EU-US free-trade deal could erode consumer and environmental protections, saying it would instead improve standards on both sides of the Atlantic. “I have fought my entire political career and as president, to strengthen consumer protections. I have no intention of signing legislation that would weaken those protections,” he said during his first ever visit to European Union headquarters in Brussels. The United States and the European Union have been in negotiations since last July to seal the so-called Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) — which would create the world’s biggest free trade zone.

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