U.S. committed to TTIP, more important due to Brexit: Kerry

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrive for a joint news conference following their meeting in Moscow, Russia, July 15, 2016. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The U.S. government is committed to concluding a free trade deal with the European Union this year and believes it is even more essential after Britons voted to leave the bloc, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday.

The United States and the European Union have been negotiating the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) for three years, with both seeking to conclude talks in 2016.

“This remains a high priority for President Obama and for our administration and there’s a reason for that,” Kerry told a news conference after meeting EU foreign ministers in Brussels.

Kerry said he disagreed with those that say TTIP will not proceed.

“We believe there is some mythology that has been attached to it and it’s our job to make sure that we adequately inform people about the ways in which the facts of the TTIP actually work for the people of Europe,” Kerry said, adding that he planned to lay out those facts in several speeches in the coming months.

He also said that TTIP had become more important in the light of Britain’s exit from the European Union, given it would create a vast market.

“It has the ability to act as a counter to whatever negatives may or may not ultimately attach themselves to whatever construct is negotiated between the UK and Europe.”

Reporting by Robin Emmott and David Brunnstrom, writing by Philip Blenkinsop