U.S. trade spokesman says U.S.-EU TTIP talks making progress

BERLIN (Reuters) - Talks on a free trade deal being negotiated by the United States and the European Union are making progress, a spokesman for the U.S. trade chief told Der Spiegel, contradicting the German economy minister, who said the discussions had failed.

The U.S. and the EU have been negotiating the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) for three years and both had sought to conclude talks this year, but differences remain.

Germany’s Sigmar Gabriel said on Sunday that talks had “de facto failed”.

But a spokesman for U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman told the German magazine: “Negotiations are in fact making steady progress.”

French Trade Minister Matthias Fekl said on Tuesday that this round of talks should be ended and a new set started.

Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Louise Ireland