BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union countries gave final clearance on Monday to start formal trade talks with the United States after months of delay due to French resistance.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. and European Union flags are pictured during the visit of Vice President Mike Pence to the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium February 20, 2017. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

In the end, the EU governments voted by a clear majority to approve the negotiating mandates proposed by the European Commission, with France voting against and Belgium abstaining.

The Commission, which coordinates trade policy for the 28-member European Union, wants to start negotiations on two tracks — one to cut tariffs on industrial goods, the other to make it easier for companies to show products meet EU or