Washington (AFP) – President Barack Obama will travel to Germany in April to talk trade with Chancellor Angela Merkel and promote US exports at a major industrial fair.
Obama will attend the Hannover Messe, an annual technology show, and meet German officials to work on a trans-Atlantic trade pact, the White House said Wednesday.
The Hanover fair, said to be the world’s largest for industrial technology, will take place in the northern German city between April 25 and 29.
“The president’s participation -– a first for a sitting US president -– presents an unique opportunity to showcase American innovation and ingenuity and to highlight the United States as a prime investment destination,” the White House said.
“While in Germany, the President will address efforts to advance negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.”
If agreed, TTIP would bring the European Union and the United States into the world’s largest free trade zone.
In particular, it would reduce bureaucratic barriers to trade and investment by harmonizing or eliminating some EU and US regulations and protections.
Negotiations began in July 2013 and the deal remains a key goal for Obama in the last year of his presidency but it still faces political opposition on both sides of the Atlantic.
Washington and Brussels are thought to be close to agreement on eliminating tariffs and barriers on 97 percent of trade between the two sides.
But some thorny issues remain to be discussed, in particular European fears about accepting genetically modified crops from America and concerns about limits on data-sharing by global Internet firms.