The US ambassador to the European Union insisted Thursday that Europe's film and cultural industry will not be totally excluded from upcoming talks on striking the world's biggest free trade deal.
William Kennard also said it would be "not appropriate" to fold financial services into negotiations between the United States and the European Union, which currently have the world's largest economic relationship -- worth some four trillion dollars in investment and trade.
"No one is saying that you can't talk about audiovisual," Kennard told a group of journalists after EU nations last week agreed initially to keep the audiovisual sector off the table in response to French demands to protect them from Hollywood.
But the negotiating mandate given to the EU executive, the European Commission, does not preclude talks about the sector at a later stage -- on condition that the Commission first obtain agreement from member states.
It "is not completely accurate to say that it is a complete carve-out, it is more of a constraint and a caveat," Kennard said.
"We don't think we should come to the table with carve-outs," the ambassador said just days after the formal launch of the trade talks on the sidelines of this week's G8 summit in Ireland.
"We want our negotiators to have the freedom to have all issues on the table," he said, adding that because many of the disputes between the two were "complex" and "long-standing" there would be a strong need for "innovative and creative thinking on behalf of our trade negotiators."
Turning to financial services, Kennard said it was not necessary to include them in the talks due to begin in Washington next month as the two sides already had a separate track for dealing with the issue.
"They have made a fair amount of progress," he said. "Hopefully the financial regulatory issues will be resolved before the TTIP," referring to the formal name of trade deal, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
"That is one reason we did not think it was not appropriate to fold all those issues into the TTIP," he added.
Acknowledging there was a gamut of prickly issues to overcome -- agricultural, data privacy, transportation to name but a few -- Kennard said the negotiators would have to create a framework enabling regulators to work through problems in a way that protected consumers while improving transatlantic compatibility.
In airline safety, US regulators had already recognised the EU's high standards and mutual recognition lead to huge savings. "We need to replicate this across many other regulatory areas," he said.
"We believe we have a historic opportunity because given many of the changes in the global economy, we are at a moment in our relationship with the EU in which there is more incentive to cooperate than compete."
He regretted that many critics of the EU-US talks focused on the exchange of data because of European concerns over privacy but said the issue was not likely to dominate the negotiation.
"There has been some hot rhetoric now. People will hopefully once they get more answers and there is more sharing of information I think people will get more confort in what we are doing."