US, EU considering world's biggest free trade pact

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Associated Press

Posted on December 11, 2012 at 5:01 AM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 11 at 8:02 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — After years of battling each other on trade issues, U.S. and European officials are contemplating a dramatic change in direction. They want to join together in what could be the world's largest free trade pact to boost their struggling economies.

Discussions are in the most preliminary of stages and there would be significant obstacles to overcome. They include sharp differences on agriculture, food safety and climate change legislation. Still, top EU and U.S. officials have said they want to see it happen. And America's main labor group says it wouldn't stand in the way.

Both sides are awaiting a report by a working group they appointed to study the issue. The report is expected within weeks. A positive recommendation could lead to negotiations early next year.

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