Representatives speaking on behalf of the US and European Union have reiterated their commitment to completing negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
The EU-US controversial trade deal has met with considerable criticism and opposition from politicians and lobbyists in both regions over the last few months, but progress on the agreement continues to be made, with a 15th round of talks recently taking place in New York.
Speaking ahead of the event, chief negotiator for the US Dan Mullaney and his European counterpart Ignacio Garcia-Bercero acknowledged the rising skepticism about the benefits of the deal, while reaffirming their view that the economic justification for proceeding with TTIP remains robust.
Fresh discussions were held over rules of origin, autos, intellectual property, trade remedies and textiles, while conceptual and language differences in several negotiating areas - especially in customs and trade facilitation, good regulatory practices, regulatory cooperation, technical barriers to trade, and regulatory compatibility in key sectors - were resolved.
Forward movement was also achieved on matters such as investment, state-to-state dispute settlement, cross-border services, financial services, government procurement, environment, labor, agriculture, industrial tariffs, energy and raw materials, small business matters, and legal and institutional issues.
The negotiators restated their belief that TTIP will benefit businesses of all sizes, usher in a higher standard of unified regulation, and ultimately work in the best interests of consumers in the US and EU.
Mr Mullaney said: "The rationale for TTIP remains strong. This agreement is vital to strengthening our transatlantic relationship in a time of significant geopolitical uncertainty and uneven economic growth internationally. It will also give the US and the EU an opportunity to work together to raise global standards based on shared values."