WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S trade representative says the government shutdown in Washington will prevent him from going ahead with the next round of talks in Belgium next week on drawing up a sweeping U.S.-European Union free trade pact.
The official, Michael Froman called European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht on Friday to tell him that financial and staffing constraints related to the shutdown make it impossible to send a full team of negotiators to Brussels. He said the U.S. would work with the Europeans to develop a work plan that can begin once the shutdown is over.
The proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership being negotiated has raised expectations of boosting growth and jobs by eliminating tariffs and other barriers that have long plagued economic relations between the U.S. and the EU.
In Brussels, De Gucht said the cancellation was unfortunate "but let me underline that it in no way distracts us from our overall aim of achieving an ambitious trade and investment deal."
Associated Press writer Raf Casert in Brussels contributed to this report.