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Renzi hopes to see US-EU free-trade treaty this year

'During Italy's presidency of European Union'

27 March, 17:47
Renzi hopes to see US-EU free-trade treaty this year (see previous) (ANSA) - Rome, March 27 - Italian Premier Matteo Renzi said at a press conference with United States President Barack Obama Thursday that "we hope to finalize the free-trade treaty" between the US and the European Union "during our duty presidency of the EU. "Or in 2015," he added, once Italy's six-month presidency concludes. The proposed free-trade agreement, which would encompass nearly half of the world's economy, could add $100 billion to economic output in both the US and Europe, officials in Washington and Brussels say. Public support has dwindled since talks began eight months ago in the aftermath of reports the US spied in Europe. Recently, however, analysts say the climate to negotiate has improved amid tighter EU-US cooperation in response to Russia's annexation of Crimea. Speaking in Brussels Wednesday, Obama announced he had authorized the export of American natural gas to Europe, lessening the continent's dependence on Russian energy.