Member States of the European Union have given their backing to trade talks with the US over a fresh trade deal.
The two were already in negotiations over a deal, known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) during Barack Obama’s reign as US President. But it was heavily criticised for what was considered to be too much power for international businesses over individual elected governments and was subsequently scrapped.
Last year, both President Donald Trump and head of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said they wanted to lower trade barriers between the EU and US.
Now that EU Member States have given its backing, the European Commission can formally begin talks. However, there is understood to be discord already over the possibility of including farm goods. And any deal would be less expansive that TTIP.
Analysis published by the European Commission suggests a deal would see at least a 7% rise in imports in either direction.
There wasn’t unanimous backing for trade talks, however. Belgium abstained from the vote, while France voted against, understood to be a protest against Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Germany, on the other hand, has been a vocal supporter of starting talks with Donald Trump threatening tariffs on car imports. With the US a major export destination for German car manufacturers, tariffs would have a significant impact on the industry.