Obama administration officials still thinks the U.S. and European Union can finalize a massive trade agreement before President Obama leaves office.

"[O]ur position on this has not changed, which is that we are continuing to work toward a goal of completing those negotiations before the end of the year," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Tuesday. He was asked to respond to comments from French President Francois Hollande, who said he doesn't see how negotiations can wrap up by late January.

Earnest conceded that "significant" work remains, which is why U.S. Trade Rep. Mike Froman has been shuttling between Europe and Washington. He was last there in July and is headed back later in September, Earnest said.

Earnest noted that the EU spokesman responsible for talking about the agreement, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, is also confident that Brussels and Washington can meet their "ambitious" deadline.

"Ambassador Froman is somebody that's got a rather ambitious view about the best way to pursue these kinds of agreements, and he's a tenacious negotiator" who should be able to make "additional progress" on his next trip, Earnest said.

The concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership, which has an uphill path to ratification on Capitol Hill, has no bearing on TTIP negotiations, Earnest added.