BRUSSELS - US President Barack Obama's re-election opens the way for the United States and Europe to launch trade talks early next year, the EU's trade chief said on Wednesday.

The world's largest trading relationship already accounts for nearly a third of global trade, but weak growth prospects are pushing Brussels and Washington to consider a deal to reduce barriers to companies and unleash new sales and investments.

A group co-chaired by European Union Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and US Trade Representative Ron Kirk will issue a report in December recommending talks, EU and US officials told Reuters in October.

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