Agriculture disputes threaten new US-EU talks

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Associated Press

Posted on March 23, 2013 at 10:01 AM

Updated Sunday, Mar 24 at 9:02 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — There are signs that old agriculture disputes could be deal-killers for President Barack Obama's goal of creating the world's largest free-trade agreement.

European Union leaders don't want the negotiations to include discussions on their ban on genetically modified crops and other regulations that keep U.S. farm products out of Europe.

But Obama says it's hard to imagine a pact that doesn't address those issues. Powerful U.S. agricultural lobbies say they will do their best to make sure Congress rejects any deal that fails to deal with the restrictions.

That would threaten the dream of a behemoth free trade deal between the world's two largest trading partners that together account for more than half of the world economy. It would lower tariffs and remove other trade barriers for most industries.

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