Surveillance leaks cast shadow on US-EU trade discussions
Trade talks between the United States and the European Union launch today – but tensions around spying revelations mar an otherwise positive development.
In the interlude following the agreement between President Barack Obama and European leaders to pursue the landmark trade deal, whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed US government surveillance of phone and Internet records to the world.
Deal difficulties had already presented themselves when France demanded a clause in the deal which protected its film and television industry. But the reputation of the US as a trustworthy partner has now been somewhat dented by the leaks.
If brought to fruition, the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership pact would be the world's biggest free-trade deal, covering about 50 percent of global economic output, 30 percent of global trade and 20 percent of global foreign direct investment.
"These negotiations will not always be easy but I am sure they will be worth it," Manuel Barroso, the head of the European Commission, said at the Group of Eight conference last month.