U.S., EU negotiators cite progress in latest discussions over trade

Top trade officials from the U.S. and the European Union reached no breakthrough Monday in Brussels on laying out a pact that would deliver on their presidents’ earlier agreement to avert a trans-Atlantic economic fight by slashing tariffs and boosting commerce.
After their first meeting since President Trump and his EU counterpart, Jean-Claude Juncker, declared that intention in July, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said they had a “constructive” and “forward-looking” encounter, but provided no details.
The talks follow public spats between American and European officials over whether Messrs. Trump and Juncker’s proposed deal would cover agriculture, a contentious trade sector that has emerged as an early threat to the talks’ progress.
The latest push for an EU-U.S. trade deal marks the third effort since 2007 to tighten links in the world’s largest bilateral trade and investment partnership. With $1 trillion in annual bilateral goods-and-services trade, the U.S. and the EU have repeatedly tried and failed to cut already-low trans-Atlantic duties of less than 3% on average, align regulations and open new markets for both sides by liberalizing sectors including agriculture and public procurement.