Sec. John Kerry pushes EU-US trade on first official trip (VIDEO)


BERLIN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 26: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerelle depart after speaking to the media following talks at the Foreign Ministry on February 2, 2013 in Berlin, Germany. Kerry is scheduled to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov later in the day.


Sean Gallup

Sec. John Kerry pushed a message of trans-Atlantic free trade in Germany while on his first official visit as Secretary of State.

Kerry said a trade agreement between the US and Europe is a top priority for President Barack Obama's second term in office and would benefit both economies.

"We think this is something that can help lift the economy of Europe, strengthen our economy, create jobs for Americans, for Germans for all Europeans, and create one of the largest allied markets in the world," he told reporters.

Speaking at a joint news conference with Secretary Kerry, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said he hoped negotiations on the agreement could begin this summer.

"It would bring growth and jobs. And it could do this without raising new debt. Therefore we are in full agreement that a transatlantic free trade deal needs to come. We are both serious about this," Westerwelle said.

"From the German perspective it would be desirable, if the preparatory work can be completed successfully, that negotiations between Europe and the United States begin in the summer. We see a window of opportunity," he added.

According to Deutsche Welle, the US was the fourth largest importer of German goods in 2011, worth a total of nearly $65.5 billion. The US is also the second largest supplier of goods to Germany, with Europe's largest economy importing nearly 75 billion euros worth of American goods.

Watch Kerry try out his German language skills at the start of his talks with Westerwelle: