On Friday the US signalled it would not bow to the pressure from Brussels when it published negotiating objectives that seek comprehensive EU access for American farm products.
EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstron told the US trade representative Robert Lighthizer that the bloc could not negotiate on agriculture in a new, more limited set of negotiations due to start later this year.
Speaking to reporters in Washington on Wednesday following a meeting with Mr Lighthizer Ms Malmstrom said the US and the EU had not yet agreed on the scope of the talks.
She said: “We have made very clear agriculture will not be included.”
It follows on from the collapsed US/EU talks for the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) which were scrapped after Donald Trump was elected president in 2016.
Agriculture was among the major stumbling blocks for TTIP negotiators.
In a bid to thaw tensions, Mr Trump and EU president Jean-Claude Juncker agreed to re-launch discussions last summer with the aim of slashing tariffs on industrial goods and finding ways for Europe to buy more American soybeans.
US lawmakers such as Chuck Grassley, Senate finance committee chairman and a farmer, said the deal might not be supported if it did not include agriculture.
The objectives published by the US this week are required by Congress under the “fast-track” trade negotiating authority law. The talks may be formally launched in as little as 30 days.
The US Trade Representative’s (USTR) office said they seek to reduce or eliminate EU tariffs on US farm products and break down non-tariff barriers.
They also said they will work to guarantee that Europe will refrain from imposing duties on digital downloads of American software, movies, music and other products, as well as seek assurances that cross-border data flow will not be hindered.
In December, American farm, food and beverage groups argued for their products to be included in negotiations.