US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker called on the German government to work harder to promote the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal with the European Union, which has faced opposition in Germany.
Pritzker said the government and German industry should promote the benefits of TTIP, just as the US administration should in the United States.
The US administration is pushing for talks on TTIP to be concluded this year, Pritzker told German news magazine Der Spiegel in an interview published Sunday.
"Our administration wants a solution, and we want to achieve it this year," Pritzker was quoted as saying.
The US and the EU could jointly set the standards for trade in the 21st century, including free and fair trade, fair wages, secure jobs, protection for consumers and high environmental standards, she said.
Pritzker defended the fact that the talks were being held behind closed doors, saying that "a certain degree of discretion" was needed to hammer out a deal that benefited both sides.
She indicated readiness to compromise on the EU proposal of replacing controversial private arbitration tribunals by a transparent investment court system.
"It's no secret that we have a number of issues," she said, adding that she was certain a solution could be found to reach the common goal of protecting investors and at the same time paying heed to public interest.
US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will open the Hanover industrial trade fair later Sunday.
Hours earlier, speaking to industry representatives in Hanover, Pritzker said that the window of opportunity was closing quickly, and that swift progress was needed on the deal.
Meanwhile, some 200 protesters gathered in Hanover on Sunday to demonstrate against TTIP.
Organizers said they had expected considerably more people to turn out to protest against the planned free trade agreement that has drawn criticism on both sides of the Atlantic.
The protest started in the centre of the city and moved to the Congress Centre where Obama was to open the Hanover industrial trade fair with Chancellor Angela Merkel later Sunday.
Police in the city said that as many as 35,000 people had gathered in Hanover on Saturday to protest against the planned agreement.
Opponents of the deal fear that it will undermine standards and have accused negotiators of a lack of transparency in the talks.
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