WASHINGTON Oct 4 The United States is
postponing negotiations for a landmark free trade deal with the
European Union because of a partial shutdown of the U.S.
government, the Obama administration said on Friday.
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman called European
Union Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht to say that U.S.
officials could not travel to Brussels next week for talks due
to the shutdown, Froman's office, known as the USTR, said in a
Whole swaths of America's federal government have been shut
down since Tuesday morning due to an impasse in Congress over
funding for the new fiscal year.
"USTR will work with the (European) Commission to craft an
alternative work plan that can begin once the U.S. government
shutdown ends," the agency said.
Washington and the EU were due to hold a second round of
negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment
Partnership, which would be the world's biggest free-trade deal.
The United States and the EU already are the world's largest
trade and investment partners but are struggling with high
unemployment, particularly in Europe.
They hope to create new jobs on both sides of the Atlantic
by striking a deal to eliminate remaining tariffs on their goods
and to reduce regulatory barriers to trade.
De Gucht said in a statement that the cancellation of the
meetings "in no way distracts us from our overall aim of
achieving an ambitious trade and investment deal."