July 9, 2019 / 3:09 PM / 7 days ago

U.S. official sees a way beyond impasse in U.S.-EU trade talks

White House chief economic advisor Larry Kudlow speaks with reporters on the driveway outside the West Wing in Washington, U.S. June 18, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. and European officials are in talks on how to move beyond the current impasse in trade talks, namely whether agriculture should be included in any agreement, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters on Tuesday.

Kudlow told an event hosted by CNBC that progress was being made on U.S. trade talks with both the European Union and Japan, but gave no details.

The United States has insisted it will not reach a trade deal with the EU if agriculture is not included, but the EU has excluded agriculture from its mandate for the talks.

Asked if he saw a way for the two sides to move forward despite the disagreement over whether to include agriculture, Kudlow said, “Yeah, I do, but I don’t want to be specific.”

He said there were “lots of talks” with the Europeans about the issue, but he didn’t want to make any formal announcements.

A senior German diplomat this week urged the two sides to move forward with trade negotiations, focusing on potential common ground, instead of allowing disagreements over agriculture to block progress.

The impasse over agriculture has prevented negotiations from beginning in earnest, a full year after European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker and U.S. President Donald Trump reached an agreement staving off punitive U.S. tariffs on EU car imports while the two sides worked to improve trade ties.

Kudlow said the two sides had remained in dialogue for the past year, although no conclusions had been reached.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Andrea Ricci

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