EU says 'ball is rolling' on TTIP talks

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The European Commission is making steady progress in the ongoing Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations and "the ball is rolling" on it, a spokesman of the European Union's (EU) executive body said on Monday.

"Although trade talks take time, the ball is rolling right now and the Commission is making steady progress in the ongoing TTIP negotiations," chief spokesperson of the Commission Margaritis Schinas told a news conference.

"Talks are now indeed entering crucial stage as we have proposals for almost all chapters on the table and a good sense of the outline of the future agreement," he added.

Schinas said Brussels was still negotiating on behalf of all 28 members of the EU, including Britain after it voted to leave the bloc.

He also stressed that the Commission was still hoped to conclude the deal by the end of the year but not at the expense of "Europe's safety, health, social and data protection standards, or our cultural diversity".

Sigmar Gabriel, Germany'economy minister, said on Sunday in an interview with German ZDF television that negotiations over TTIP had "de facto failed" because "Europeans, of course, should not subject ourselves to American demands".

He has noted that the two sides could not agree on a single chapter of the deal being discussed.

TTIP comprises of three main blocks, market access for EU and U.S. companies, cooperation on regulatory issues and global rules of trade such as sustainable development or competition policy.

Since July 2013, when the EU and the United States started negotiations on the free trade deal, 14 rounds of talks have been held. Both sides have sought to conclude the negotiations by the end of this year.

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