By Daniel Hunter

Talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are set to begin a second round of negotiations.

The talks, between the EU and US, could create the world's biggest free-trade deal.

Originally set for October, but postponed because of the US government shutdown, relations have become strained after claims that the US listened to German leader Angela Merkel's mobile calls.

US Secretary of State John Kerry last week urged European leaders not to allow the row to disrupt the talks.

Together the US and EU account for about $30 trillion (£18.7tn) of annual output - almost half the world's total.

The EU says a deal could bring annual benefits of 119bn euros ($159bn; £99bn) for its 28 member states.

It is hoped that an agreement could be reached by the end of 2014.

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