Mercosur to unblock talks, EU trade chief sees U.S. negotiations

SANTIAGO Sat Jan 26, 2013 5:51pm EST

European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht answers a question during an interview with Reuters at the summit of the Community of Latin American, Caribbean States and European Union (CELAC-UE) in Santiago, January 26, 2013. REUTERS/Jorge Sanchez

European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht answers a question during an interview with Reuters at the summit of the Community of Latin American, Caribbean States and European Union (CELAC-UE) in Santiago, January 26, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Jorge Sanchez

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - The European Union and the South American bloc Mercosur will exchange offers on opening up their markets by the end of this year, the EU's trade chief said on Saturday as both sides try to unblock long-stalled free-trade negotiations.

"A tremendous effort has been made to install new momentum into the discussions," EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht told Reuters in an interview.

De Gucht, who handles trade issues for the 27 nations of the European Union, also signaled he expected Europe and the United States to go ahead with talks on a possible free-trade accord.

(Reporting by Robin Emmott; editing by Helen Popper)

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