Nov 11 - The United States and the European Union hold a second round of negotiations towards the world's biggest free-trade deal and seek to catch up ground lost to last month's U.S. government shutdown. Melanie Ralph reports
Officially kicking off round two of US and European trade talks. U.S. chief negotiator Dan Mullaney, and Europe's Ignacio Garcia Bercero. They last sat down together back in July. Since then it's been a stop-start process - and significant hurdles have got in the way. They're trying to make up for lost time - after the US government shutdown postponed the talks from last month. The week-long trade negotiations are aimed at creating the biggest free-trade agreement in history. Reports suggest that together the US and Europe account for almost half of the world's total annual output - almost 30 trillion dollars. If the deal is done, Europe estimates they'll reap annual benefits of 119 billion euros, and the US, 95 billion euros. Adam Cole is from RBC Capital Markets. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ADAM COLE, RBC CAPITAL MARKETS, SAYING: I think the benefit of trade liberalization is very long-term in nature and I don't think either side would expect to see an immediate short term payoff, but in the much longer term I think the evidence is fairly compelling that freer global trade is positive for growth in aggregate." But recent allegations of U.S. spying - including listening into German leader Angela Merkel's phone calls - has threatened to throw a spanner in the works. Last week the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, urged European leaders not to let the row disrupt the trade talks. The meeting being held in Brussels will cover energy, investment, services and raw materials. A third round of talks are expected in December. The process is expected to be long and drawn out...with some analysts predicting the complex negotiations could carry on until 2015.