Latvia to push for EU/US trade deal during presidency

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Latvia will do its best to get a landmark trade deal between the United States and European Union signed during its six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union, Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics pledged Tuesday.

Speaking in Rome after a meeting with US Trade Representative Michael Froman, Rinkevics said progress on the much-anticipated Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement (TTIP) would be among Latvia's priorities when it helms the EU during the first six months of 2015. 

Latvia's senior diplomat stressed that the deal should be considered in the context of the question of energy security, taking into account plans by the United States to export energy to Europe and LNG terminal projects in the Baltic Sea region.

"Rinkēvičs pointed to the need to safeguard our citizens and parliamentarians by providing greater transparency and information about the content of the deal, as well as the negotiation process in order to avoid possible confusion about it," a statement from the Latvian Foreign Ministry said.. 

A deal would "facilitate mutual trade between EU member states and the United States. This will reduce existing tariff barriers [and] facilitate cooperation between entrepreneurs of both parties," the statement said.

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