US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a joint pitch Sunday for deeper transatlantic trade in the face of mounting opposition, vowing to complete a vast US-EU trade pact that could spur much-needed economic growth. After talks in the northern town of Hanover where tens of thousands marched Saturday against the planned deal, Obama said the world’s largest trade pact could be finalised by the end of the year.

“Angela and I agree that the United States and the European Union need to keep moving forward with the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations,” Obama said. “I don’t anticipate that we will be able to have completed ratification of a deal by the end of the year, but I do anticipate that we can have completed the agreement.” Both sides hope the pact will provide a shot in the arm to Western economies that are still struggling to erode the devastating effects of the global financial crisis. FULL REPORT