EU rejects US demand that agriculture be part of trade talks

The European Union's top trade official insists that the agricultural sector cannot be included in negotiations on a new trade agreement with the United States, as the U.S. has demanded.

After receiving the backing of EU ministers in Brussels Monday, Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told reporters that "there is absolutely no possibility to include agriculture in these discussions."

Malmstrom said the Europeans are ready to start negotiations on industrial tariffs with the U.S. but that "they seem not to be, yet. We have conflicting mandates there."

The EU announced more than a month ago that it was ready to negotiate a trans-Atlantic deal focused exclusively on eliminating tariffs on industrial goods, but the U.S. wants talks to be broader.