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USA: Obama: important to reach free trade deal with EU

BRUSSELS (AP) — President Barack Obama says the European Union and the United States should push ahead with negotiations to create what would be the world’s largest free-trade zone.

Barack Obama
President Barack Obama speaks during a joint news conference with EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy and EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso at the EU-US summit meeting, Wednesday, March 26, 2014, at the EU Council building in Brussels, Belgium. Obama is on a one day trip to Belgium to shore up commitments he received from allies in The Hague, Netherlands, to reassure Eastern Europeans members of NATO that the alliance will stand by them and to make a larger point about European security a quarter-century after the fall of the Iron Curtain.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Obama said Wednesday concluding the free trade deal would also facilitate exports of natural gas from the U.S. to the 28-nation EU.

The EU relies heavily on Russia for gas supplies but the crisis following Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula opened the prospect of Russia limiting gas shipments in retaliation against economic sanctions imposed by the West.

Obama said during a visit to the EU headquarters a free trade agreement would mean shipments of liquefied gas to Europe would actually be much easier.

The U.S. and the EU combined account for almost half of the world’s GDP and a third of world trade.

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USA: Obama: important to reach free trade deal with EU

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