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US, Europe struggle to make progress in free trade talks

BRUSSELS – Trans-Atlantic talks to create a massive free trade zone between the United States and the European Union continue to be held back because of divergences on key issues, making success under President Barack Obama’s administration ever less likely.

With the November U.S. elections drawing closer, chief EU negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero says that “still, there is a lot, a lot that needs to be done before this negotiation is ripe for conclusion.”

In the wake of last week’s 13th negotiating session in the United States, Garcia Bercero says deep divergences remain on several issues including market access for European firms and protection for the agriculture sector.

Worsening the climate was Monday’s release by Greenpeace of confidential negotiating texts that the environmental group claims shows U.S. ill intent.