Current talks on TTIP deal with US should be halted – French foreign trade minister

Current talks between the EU and the US on the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) should be halted and new ones should be started, Minister of State for Foreign Trade Matthias Fekl told French media.“There is no more political support in France for these negotiations,” and “France calls for an end to these negotiations,” Fekl told RMC radio.

from RT: 

One of the problems of the deal lies in the US attitude towards the negotiations, he said.

READ MORE: TTIP ‘doesn’t respect EU interests’: French PM Valls says ‘non’ to transatlantic treaty

“The Americans give nothing or just crumbs… That is not how negotiations are done between allies,” Fekl said. “We need a clear and definitive halt to these negotiations in order to restart on a good foundation.”

France “demands a halt to TAFTA [Transatlantic Free Trade Area] and TTIP [Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership],”he tweeted.

Fekl said that France will raise the case at a meeting of EU foreign trade ministers in Bratislava, Slovakia, in September.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier added that US and EU still are “far away” and have work to do on the standards of the deal.

In the meantime, a spokesman for US Trade Representative Michael Froman told Der Spiegel newspaper that the talks “are in fact making steady progress.”

Fekl’s remarks come days after German Vice-Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said that the TTIP negotiations have essentially failed.

“In my opinion the negotiations with the United States have de facto failed, even though nobody is really admitting it,” the minister told ZDF broadcaster on Sunday. “[They] have failed because we Europeans did not want to subject ourselves to American demands.”

Washington has been insisting that the free trade deal be signed before the end of 2016, but it has encountered strong opposition from a number of European nations.

The TTIP is a EU-US free trade treaty project that was dubbed as controversial the moment it was proposed three years ago and has been criticized for its secretiveness and lack of accountability ever since.

The proposed deal aims at promoting trade and multilateral economic growth by creating the world’s largest free-trade zone. Backers say it will help small businesses opening up markets and making customs processes easier, while trade tariffs on products would be reduced.

But critics of TTIP fear big corporations will be the only ones to profit from the deal, with corporate interest coming even ahead of national interest.

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