Shutdown forces EU, US to cancel trade deal talks

BRUSSELS: The second round of scheduled talks between top European Union and American officials to clinch the world’s largest trade deal have been cancelled because of the US government shutdown.

The discussions were meant to start on Monday but European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said US Trade Representative Michael Froman had said Washington would be unable to send its delegation.

“Next week’s negotiations have therefore been cancelled,” he said in a statement Friday, referring to the planned talks in Brussels.

De Gucht said the delay was “clearly regrettable” but he also insisted that both the EU and the United States were “strongly committed to see the process through”.

Both sides hope to have proposals ready by January to end deep differences over rules and regulations.