U.S. and European Union officials said this week that they will continue to work toward their goal of concluding a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement by the end of this year despite the United Kingdom’s vote last week to withdraw from the EU. However, some observers are doubtful such an outcome can be achieved given Brussels’ anticipated focus on the withdrawal process and its ramifications in the months ahead.
U.S. Trade Representative Mike Froman said that while the U.S. is evaluating the effect of the so-called Brexit on the TTIP negotiations the “economic and strategic rationale” for this agreement “remains strong.” There has been “a lot of progress on the agreement during the last eight months,” Froman said, but “we’re going to need a creative, pragmatic approach to resolve the outstanding issues” in order to “conclude an ambitious, comprehensive and high standard agreement this year.”
EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said she is “determined to make as much progress as possible in the months to come” with respect to the TTIP negotiations. Malmström will be in the U.S. this week to meet with Froman in an effort to “advance further in these negotiations.” She added that the EU also intends to remain engaged in pursuing and concluding other trade negotiations, including a free trade agreement with Canada that is “the most ambitious and progressive agreement we have concluded so far.”