Continued from page 1

Mr. Ponce fears that one solution — harmonizing regulations so that one set of rules covers both markets — would be too difficult to negotiate and could slow down the trade deal. “There’s no reason to make a case about harmonization,” he said. “It cannot work.”

Instead, he wants to see negotiators to be content with the status quo of “mutual recognition,” in which U.S. companies — for example, Ford selling cars — are subject to European regulations for that part of their businesses that operates over there, and vice versa for Mercedes-Benz or Volkswagen in the U.S.

The biggest regulations the U.S. and EU will have to negotiate have to do with agriculture, Mr. Mahaffee said. American businesses would like access to markets for such products as ethanol, biodiesel and meat, which European health and safety rules hamper.