President Barack Obama and EU leaders are hoping agreement to reduce trade barriers will support millions of jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.
Speaking at a press conference in Brussels, Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said the EU and the U.S. would strive to open negotiations by the end of June.
"This undertaking won't be easy. Ideally, we'd like to complete this work in about two years from now," De Gucht said.
If finalized, the deal -- dubbed the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership -- would be the biggest bilateral trade agreement ever negotiated.
As two of the world's most important trade partners, business between the U.S. and the EU already exceeds $2 billion a day and $5 trillion annually. This accounts for one third of global trade flows, according to the EU and the U.S. chamber of commerce.