France calls for end to EU-US trade talks

 30 Aug 2016 - 13:36

France calls for end to EU-US trade talks
 

By Hajer M'tiri
PARIS: France on Tuesday called for an end to talks over the controversial Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the U.S. and EU.
Foreign Trade Minister Matthias Fekl’s remarks followed comments from German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel that the negotiations had effectively failed.
In an interview with RMC Radio, Fekl said: “There is no more political support in France for these negotiations.”
He added that he would officially call for an end to the talks at a meeting of foreign trade ministers in Slovakia next month “so that we can restart them on a good foundation.”
Fekl complained that “the Americans give nothing or just crumbs... that is not how negotiations are done between allies.”
Gabriel’s declaration on Sunday that the talks had broken down after the EU rejected U.S. demands was followed the next day by a statement from Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman that the talks should continue.
However, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier -- who, like Gabriel, is a member of the Social Democrats in coalition with Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union -- said an agreement was still far off.
The European Commission -- the EU’s executive body -- said on Monday that negotiations, which began in 2013, were entering a crucial phase.
According to supporters, the TTIP deal will boost growth and employment on both sides of the Atlantic while critics have said it will give too much power to multinational corporations and curtail national sovereignty and consumers’ and workers’ rights.

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