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France wants defense off table in EU-US trade talks

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Since the United States has essentially closed its defense procurement to foreign companies the European Union should exclude defense from upcoming trade talks, French Trade Minister Nicole Bricq said Monday.

"We know that the American public market is tightly closed and so we will not agree to opening our market while the American defense market is closed," Bricq told AFP.

"We have the willingness of other member states to exclude anything dealing with defense from the negotiations."

Bricq's comments come as the United States and Europe continue to do battle at the World Trade Organization over government subsidies to the civil aircraft industry in a massive case involving Boeing and Airbus, which spent nearly a decade disputing a controversial US Air Force tanker contract.

She was speaking on the sidelines of a biotechnology conference in Chicago ahead of meetings in Washington Tuesday with representatives of President Barack Obama's trade negotiations team, two US congressmen and leaders of the environmental and labor movements.

The European Union and United States intend to begin within months talks on an ambitious transatlantic free trade deal that would create the world's largest free trade area, boosting economic growth and jobs.

With much of Europe in recession and the US recovery uncertain, leaders on both sides of the Atlantic have looked at the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership as a way to spur growth and create jobs.

Research conducted for the European Commission estimated that the deal would quickly provide a 119 billion euro a year boost for the EU and 95 billion euros in additional gains for the United States.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130422/france-wants-defense-table-eu-us-trade-talks