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07/12/2016

Germany says TTIP dead in the water

Trade & Society

Germany says TTIP dead in the water

Sigmar Gabriel

[European Council]

Germany’s Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, said yesterday (28 August) that negotiations on the so-called Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – or TTIP – between the EU and the US were effectively dead in the water.

“The talks with the US have de facto failed because we Europeans of course must not succumb to American demands,” he told public broadcaster ZDF. “Nothing is moving forward.”

Gabriel, who is Angela Merkel’s second-in-command, said hardly any progress had been made in recent years. Slamming the negotiations, the vice-chancellor said neither side had managed to even agree on a single common chapter.

“According to my assessment, the negotiations with the United States have de facto failed although nobody really admits to it. And that is because, having had 14 rounds of negotiations made into 27 chapters there has not been a single joint statement… We must not allow ourselves to submit ourselves to the American proposals. In Europe we have our way of living together,” Gabriel said.

The controversial free trade deal has sparked protests and drawn heavy criticism from some European leaders.

In May, French President François Hollande threatened to reject TTIP if it endangers the future of French agriculture.

France, US exchange warnings over agriculture in trade pact

French President François Hollande threatened on Sunday (1 May) to reject the ambitious TTIP trade pact if it endangers the future of French agriculture, triggering similar warnings from the US regarding exports of farm produce to Europe

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TTIP impossible in 2016, French minister says

It will be “impossible” for the European Union and the United States to conclude negotiations on a trade deal by the end of 2016, France’s junior minister for trade and commerce said today (5 July).

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The UK’s Brexit vote also appears not to have helped matters, essentially removing one of the US’ closest allies and supporters from the talks.

The US President Barack Obama still wants TTIP signed before the end of his term. Last month US Secretary of State John Kerry said he will tour EU capitals in the next months to “help people to understand exactly what the positive side of TTIP is”.

Kerry to embark on EU roadshow to promote TTIP

US Secretary of State John Kerry said today (18 July) that concluding the TTIP agreement before the end of President Barack Obama’s term in office remains his country’s priority, and that he was going to tour EU countries to make this happen.

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In the interview Sunday, Gabriel was more upbeat about a Canada-EU free trade agreement, which he called “a big step forward”, adding he would fight for its ratification.

EU-Canada summit hangs in doubt, CETA fate uncertain

EXCLUSIVE / Bulgaria and Romania find it very difficult to ratify the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada which was concluded in 2014, because of the refusal by Ottawa to lift the visa requirement for their nationals, and propose the accord to be postponed.

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The deal known as CETA was formally concluded in 2014 and requires the approval of 28 EU member states and European Parliament.

Germans increasingly doubtful of TTIP

Germans are growing increasingly wary of a vast EU-US trade pact currently under negotiation, an opinion poll showed on 5 May, as Chancellor Angela Merkel said she hoped for a deal by December.

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