Ukraine crisis strengthens EU resolve to seek U.S. gas

BRUSSELS, March 11 Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:27am EDT

BRUSSELS, March 11 (Reuters) - EU negotiators are pressing U.S. counterparts to agree a framework to allow imports of U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) into the European Union via a transatlantic trade pact under discussion, people close to the talks told Reuters.

The framework for the EU-U.S. trade negotiations does not cover energy issues, but the crisis in Ukraine has exposed the EU's dependence on Russia and given new impetus for EU trade negotiators to push Washington to include natural gas.

An EU-U.S. trade accord, which negotiators aim to finalise by the end of 2014, would make approval of U.S. LNG export licences automatic, ending current restrictions on imports. (Reporting by Barbara Lewis and Robin Emmott, editing by David Evans)

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