President Barack Obama and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman will meet with European leaders Wednesday in Brussels for a summit on EU-U.S. relations, which will include a discussion of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
Anthony Luzzatto Gardner, the U.S. ambassador to the EU, will also be in attendance. The European Council’s president, Herman Van Rompuy, and José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, will lead the EU delegation in the talks. Europe’s trade commissioner, Karel De Gucht, the commission’s Catherine Ashton and Joao Vale de Almeida, who is head of the EU’s U.S. delegation, will also take part, according to a press release about the event.
Both parties last joined together for a similar summit in November 2011.
“We have a very broad agenda with the EU,” Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, said during a press briefing on impending the visit. “I’m sure the situation in Ukraine will be front and center, as well as the ongoing discussions around the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the Iran negotiations and the broad range of issues that we have with the EU.”
On March 14, U.S. and EU officials completed the fourth round of T-TIP negotiations. According to Froman, they reached a “good understanding” of the challenges and issues ahead, but added, “we know we have a lot of work ahead of us.”
Barroso said that during the upcoming summit, the parties will “map the way ahead” for the trade policy.
"We know well that our joint efforts are necessary, if not sufficient, conditions to tackle global challenges, from the economy, including in the context of the G20, to climate change, energy security, counterterrorism, non-proliferation, etc.,” Barroso said in a statement.
“The summit,” he continued, “will highlight the significant contributions that the EU-U.S. strategic partnership makes to transatlantic and global peace and prosperity, and will be an opportunity to support and promote our negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership."