WASHINGTON, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hailed the proposed transatlantic free trade talks Thursday, pledging to strengthen economic ties with the European Union (EU).
While meeting with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton at the State Department, Kerry said a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership would have enormous benefit on the both sides of the Atlantic, adding "we all know the difficulties, but I think this moment is one that we could really get through."
"We want more engagement with Europe, we think Europe can be more of a partner," he noted.
Ashton was also optimistic about the trade negotiations, saying "I think we can do this and do it in good time."
The U.S. and the EU already have the world's largest economic relationship, accounting for half of global economic output and 30 percent of world trade. The coming negotiations will deepen economic ties between the world's two most important economic powers and help create the largest free trade area in the world.
The two sides announced jointly on Wednesday that they would initiate the internal procedures necessary to launch negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which suggested that international trade was also a key theme of President Barack Obama's second-term agenda.