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EU-US TTIP Talks Entering 'Crucial' Stage - European Commission

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European Commission Chief Spokesperson Margaritis Schinas said that the commission plans to finish talks between the European Union and the United States on the proposed controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) free trade agreement.

Protesters demonstrate against Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) free trade agreement ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama's visit in Hanover, Germany April 23, 2016 - Sputnik International
TTIP Dead: Massive US-EU Trade Deal Falls Apart Says German Vice-Chancellor
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Talks between the European Union and the United States on the proposed controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) free trade agreement are proceeding steadily and entering the final stage, European Commission Chief Spokesperson Margaritis Schinas said Monday.

"The commission is making steady progress in the ongoing TTIP negotiations… Talks are now, indeed, entering a crucial stage, as we have proposals for almost all chapters on the table and a good sense about the outline of the future agreement," Margaritis said in a briefing.

The commission plans to close the trade deal by the end of the year, he added, stressing that it remains committed to upholding Europe's health standards, social welfare, data protection and diversity.

The last round of TTIP negotiations was held in mid-July. The sides discussed mainly market access, regulatory cooperation, and trade rules. Following the round, negotiators said that the European Union continues to disagree with the United States on a number of issues regarding tariffs, services and procurement. US negotiators said that the sides agreed to eliminate duties on 97 percent of approximately 8,000 tariff lines currently in place.

Protesters depicting Statue of Liberty (L) and Europa on the bull take part in a demonstration against Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) free trade agreement ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama's visit in Hannover, Germany April 23, 2016 - Sputnik International
EU, US Still at Odds on Tariffs, Services, Procurement in TTIP Talks
The TTIP free trade agreement, which has been negotiated since 2013, involves the creation of a free trade zone between the European Union and the United States.

The TTIP agreement has drawn severe criticism for the lack of transparency in the negotiations as well as for the tremendous power it would potentially give to international corporations.

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