Europe not ‘giving in’ with US deal: EU trade chief

Friday, 21 Feb 2014 | 6:05 AM ET
EU-US trade deal about 'further integration'
Karel De Gucht, EU trade commissioner, says the EU-US trade deal is about "further ... integration of our markets".

The EU 's Trade Commissioner said there was a "big difference between compromising and giving in" following the latest talks between the European bloc and the U.S. regarding a trans-Atlantic trade deal.

Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht spoke to CNBC following two days of meetings with his U.S. counterpart, Michael Froman, in Washington, D.C.

(Read more: France's Hollande calls for quick EU-U.S. trade deal)

De Gucht and Froman discussed the progress of the long-awaited trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TIIP) deal, which would unite two economic blocs which account for almost half the world economy and more than a third of global trade.

Responding to fears that an eventual deal might mean the EU would weaken existing regulatory standards, De Gucht told CNBC that the EU would not give in.

"You can make compromises that are win-win situations," De Gucht said. "I can reassure that we are not going to change the basic legislation and regulation in Europe; we are not going to do that."

(Read more: EU trade chief says US tariff offer falls short)

He added: "We are not going to import hormone beef; we are not going to change our legislation on GMOs (genetically modified organisms); we are not going to lower our standards on health and safety and the environment; we are not going to make compromises on data protection."

On Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged for quick progress on the trade agreement, stating that Germany and France would be work closely together to finalize negotiations. She said the benefits of a deal outweighed the risks.

De Gucht mirrored Merkel's comments, telling CNBC, "It would be a very comprehensive agreement...which means a lot of sectors across the board will benefit. For example, automotive, which is a sector that is in a difficult situation in Europe, will certainly benefit."

He added: "Our markets should come together more than any other market in the world."

U.S. and E.U. negotiators are set to meet in Brussels in March for a fourth round of talks.

—By CNBC's Kiran Moodley. Follow him on Twitter @kirancmoodley


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