TTIP: France threatens to walk away from negotiations

Matthias Fekl, France’s junior trade minister, said that a lack of transparency was threatening to derail the talks

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The Independent Online

A French minister has said that France is considering walking away from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations.

Matthias Fekl, France’s junior trade minister, told France’s Sud-Ouest paper on Monday that he was considering withdrawing France from the negotiations altogether because they are conducted in favour of American interests.

He also claimed that American negotiators have access to more documents than those in Europe.

"Europe has offered many compromises, in all areas, and has received no serious offers from the Americans in return. Neither for access to their public markets, nor for access to their agricultural and food markets, which remain closed," Fekl is reported to have said.

In the summer, the European Commission said it was increasing the secrecy around the TTIP negotiations because of a series of leaks. Under new rules, politicians are only able to read the texts in a secure reading room in Brussels.

But Fekl said that a lack of transparency was threatening to derail the talks.

TTIP is a massive trade agreement between the US and the EU that aims to cut tariffs. The idea is to save governments money on importing and exporting goods. But the text has proved highly controversial, raising fears that it could give corporations power over governments.