Kerry to promote free-trade deal on EU tour
By Eric Maurice
US secretary of state John Kerry will tour Europe to convince Europeans that they would benefit from an EU-US free trade deal.
"I intend to be back here in the next months, giving several speeches in various places to lay out the facts and help people to understand exactly the positive side" of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), Kerry told journalists in Brussels on Monday (18 July).
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He said that concluding "an ambitious TTIP this year" remained a "high priority"' for Washington.
He added that the US "frankly, gracefully I hope, and respectfully disagrees" with "certain people in the region" who recently said that TTIP talks will not succeed.
Last week, German vice-chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said Berlin should be ready to "honestly assess" the negotiations if no progress was made during the latest round of talks and that he refused a deal "at any price".
Dirk Wiese, the TTIP-rapporteur in the German parliament for Gabriel's Social-Democratic Party also said that the free trade agreement was "factually dead".
Kerry suggested that sceptical or anti-TTIP voices from European politicians and opinion were due to a lack of knowledge of what is at stake.
"We believe there is some methodology attached to it and it's our job to make sure we adequately inform people about the ways with which the facts of the TTIP actually work for Europe," he said.
He assured that TTIP would be good for growth, jobs, regulatory standards and workers protection in Europe.
He also said that an EU-US deal would be "more important" in the context of Brexit because it would strengthen a "large market".
"That has a very significant ability to act as counter to whatever negatives may or may not ultimately attach themselves to whatever construct is negotiated between the UK and Europe," he said.