US, EU of­fi­cials clash over part­ner­ship talks

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

AMER­I­CAN and Euro­pean of­fi­cials have made con­tra­dic­tory re­marks about their ne­go­ti­a­tions over a pro­posed trade agree­ment known as the Transat­lantic Trade and In­vest­ment Part­ner­ship (TTIP).

The US and the EU have been ne­go­ti­at­ing the TTIP for three years and both had sought to agree to a deal this year.

A spokesman for US Trade Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Michael Fro­man told Der Spiegel on Tues­day that talks on TTIP were pro­gress­ing.

The tough trade talks have not bro­ken down and the goal is still a deal by the time Pres­i­dent Barack Obama leaves the White House, the EU trade com­mis­sioner said Tues­day af­ter France cast doubt on the pact.

“I do not agree that TTIP ne­go­ti­a­tions have failed. They have been dif­fi­cult, of course, we knew from the be­gin­ning, but they have not failed,” Ce­cilia Malm­stroem said of the ne­go­ti­a­tions.

French Trade Min­is­ter Matthias Fekl had said yes­ter­day the cur­rent round of trade talks be­tween the EU and the US must be halted.

He stressed that the ne­go­ti­a­tions were in fa­vor of the Amer­i­cans and that Wash­ing­ton was not will­ing to make any con­ces­sions. Ear­lier yes­ter­day, Ger­man Econ­omy Min­is­ter Sig­mar Gabriel also said the US had ef­fec­tively ended the talks be­cause Wash­ing­ton had not wanted to com­pro­mise with its Euro­pean coun­ter­parts. “I be­lieve that the Amer­i­cans have ac­tively ended TTIP. I don’t see any will­ing­ness to com­pro­mise with the Euro­peans,” Gabriel told a news con­fer­ence in Ber­lin. He added that TTIP had no chance of be­ing agreed be­fore the US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in Novem­ber. The stated goal of TTIP is pro­mot­ing trade and mul­ti­lat­eral eco­nomic growth but ac­tivists who op­pose the agree­ment say it would only ben­e­fit multi­na­tion­als and harm con­sumers. Crit­ics also say un­der the deal, US cor­po­ra­tions could put ex­ces­sive le­gal pres­sure on some EU states; a move that would have a “chill­ing” ef­fect on leg­is­la­tors, forc­ing them to wa­ter down wel­fare pro­tec­tions. Ne­go­ti­a­tions on the TTIP, which aims to cre­ate a free trade zone cov­er­ing 850 mil­lion peo­ple, started back in 2013. The con­tentious ac­cord was meant to be a legacy of Obama be­fore he leaves the White House. — PressTV.

Matthias Fekl

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