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Germany admits US/Europe trade talks have failed; growing fears of populism reactions

Monday, August 29th 2016 - 06:49 UTC
Full article 11 comments
 “In my opinion the negotiations with the United States have de facto failed even though nobody is really admitting it,” said Sigmar Gabriel “In my opinion the negotiations with the United States have de facto failed even though nobody is really admitting it,” said Sigmar Gabriel
“It's our job to make sure that we adequately inform people about the facts of how TTIP will actually work for the people of Europe,” John Kerry revealed “It's our job to make sure that we adequately inform people about the facts of how TTIP will actually work for the people of Europe,” John Kerry revealed
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said last month that the TTIP is “absolutely in Europe's interest.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said last month that the TTIP is “absolutely in Europe's interest.”

Talks aimed at setting up a U.S.-European free trade zone have run aground because of intransigence on Washington's part, a top German politician said Sunday. The Obama administration and the 28-member European Union have been in talks to set up the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, which would be the world's largest free trade zone.

 “In my opinion the negotiations with the United States have de facto failed even though nobody is really admitting it,” said Sigmar Gabriel, German vice chancellor and economy minister, in an interview with the broadcaster ZDF on Sunday.

Negotiations have reportedly stalled because of the unexpected decision by Britain to leave the EU and because of growing public opposition to trade agreements on both sides of the Atlantic.

Gabriel said the U.S. and the EU haven't agreed on a single item out of 27 chapters being discussed, despite 14 rounds of talks, and he said Washington was “angry” about a similar trade agreement struck between Canada and the EU. He said Europe “must not succumb to American demands.”

On the record, U.S. and European officials say they are continuing to move forward with talks and stress the importance of the TTIP to their economies.

“It's our job to make sure that we adequately inform people about the facts of how TTIP will actually work for the people of Europe,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said at a press conference in Brussels last month. “It will protect jobs, it will protect their regulatory rights, protect their abilities with respect to labor and the environment,” he said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said last month that the TTIP is “absolutely in Europe's interest.”

“We are determined to continue these negotiations,” added the EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström. ”They are important for Europe, for our economy, for our jobs, for our business people, for our consumers, and it makes a lot of sense to do it even (without Britain).“

But behind the scenes, there have been signs of trouble in the talks. Last month, French media quoted diplomats as saying that talks may be suspended until after the U.S. elections in November, as well as elections in France and Germany next year.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said TTIP would be ”a breeding ground for populism“ And in the U.S., Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said, ”By any objective analysis this is, shall I say, a down period for trade agreements around the world.”

Categories: Economy, Politics, International.

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  • DennisA

    No such thing as Free Trade. If there were there would be no tariff barriers and countries would produce what they wanted and rely on market forces.

    Aug 29th, 2016 - 08:50 am 0
  • Skip

    Seems like the UK might sign one before the EU.

    Aug 29th, 2016 - 05:43 pm 0
  • ChrisR

    I wonder how many US$ the Europeans still hold from 2008 when they sucked the mop to get America out of it's self-inflicted bank disaster?

    It's looking more like America wants to do-over Europe again.

    Trouble is of course, without the UK the EU will implode unless this 'deal' is agreed.

    Britain of course will go from strength to strength without the EU.

    Aug 29th, 2016 - 05:52 pm 0
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