“President Obama’s call for a free-trade agreement between the United States and the European Union has unleashed a wave of optimism on both sides that a breakthrough can be achieved that would lift trans-Atlantic fortunes, not just economically but politically.
Experts cited tough economic times on both sides of the Atlantic and a perceived need among European leaders for a cause to unify their frayed union as major reasons that an agreement might be reached now, where past efforts have failed. But an even greater consideration, they said, was the growing economic might of China.
Talks could begin in late May or early June.
Negotiations are not expected to be easy, with entrenched interests, especially in protected sectors of the agriculture industry, fighting to maintain their subsidies and preferences.