THE United States is digging in its heels and refusing to omit agriculture from planned trade talks with the EU.
On Friday the US signalled it would not bow to the pressure from Brussels when it published negotiating objectives that seek comprehensive EU access for American farm products.
EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstron told the US trade representative Robert Lighthizer that the bloc could not negotiate on agriculture in a new, more limited set of negotiations due to start later this year.
Speaking to reporters in Washington on Wednesday following a meeting with Mr Lighthizer Ms Malmstrom said the US and the EU had not yet agreed on the scope of the talks.
It follows on from the collapsed US/EU talks for the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) which were scrapped after Donald Trump was elected president in 2016.
Agriculture was among the major stumbling blocks for TTIP negotiators.
In a bid to thaw tensions, Mr Trump and EU president Jean-Claude Juncker agreed to re-launch discussions last summer with the aim of slashing tariffs on industrial goods and finding ways for Europe to buy more American soybeans.
The United States had a $151 billion goods deficit with the EU in 2017, despite two-way annual trade of about $1.1 billion.