March 20, 2019 / 10:20 AM / 3 months ago

EU leaders will ask ministers to clear negotiating mandates for U.S. trade talks

FILE PHOTO: A worker adjusts European Union and U.S. flags at the start of the 2nd round of EU-US trade negotiations for Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels November 11, 2013. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union leaders will ask their trade ministers on Friday to quickly approve negotiating mandates for the European Commission to start formal trade talks with the United States, draft conclusions showed.

“The necessary steps should be taken for the rapid implementation of the U.S.-EU Joint Statement of 25 July 2018,” the draft conclusions, seen by Reuters, said.

The EU has been in talks on trade with Washington since July 2018, when U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to hold off new punitive tariffs while the two sides worked on ways to improve economic relations.

Reporting By Jan Strupczewski; editing by Philip Blenkinsop

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