TTIP trade deal could re-launched under a different name, say EU ministers

EU ministers demand complete restart of the controversial trade deal that has sparked mass protests across the continent.

Ben Chapman
Friday 23 September 2016 16:38
Comments

European Union ministers today admitted that a giant EU-US trade deal is dead in its current form, with drastic change needed to salvage any hope of a deal going ahead.

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership has sparked a widespread backlash and now lies in tatters in the wake of massive protests across the continent.

Austrian Economy Minister Reinhold Mitterlehner said that the pact now has, “such negative connotations”, that the best hope was to “completely relaunch with a new name after the US elections.

Mitterlehner also demanded “more transparency and clearer objectives.“ Negotiations for the free-trade zone have so far been held behind closed doors.

Slovak economy minister Peter Ziga, was similarly pessimistic, saying that a “new start or some new approach [was] needed, while EU trade commissioner “ Cecilia Malmstroem said the likelihood of a deal was “becoming smaller and smaller”, as she entered the talks.

Several EU representatives blamed US intransigence for the gridlock. The deal now has “only a small chance of success unless the United States starts to give a bit of ground,“ Belgian Finance Minister Didier Reynders said.

“The Americans have not been willing to make offers the way Canada has so it's guaranteed there will be no agreement this year,” said German Economy Minister and Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, adding that if talks could be rekindled under a new US president, they would need a “different attitude”.

In August Gabriel said that TTIP had failed “but no one is really admitting it”.

On the other side of the Atlantic, analysts see little chance of a deal any time soon. “Very unlikely,” Caroline Freund, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said. “Europe is struggling with Brexit and migration, and the TTIP is hugely unpopular in Germany.”

After three years of secretive talks, seemingly intractable differences remain over issues such as working conditions and agricultural practices. For example, Europe bans washing chicken with chlorine and routinely treating cows with growth-promoting hormones, practices which are common in the US.

Detractors also say the pact will erode wages and working conditions, as well as give corporations the power to sue nation states for introducing regulations that harm their businesses.

Under a similar trade deal the government of Ecuador was ordered to pay German oil company Occidental $2.3 billion for, apparently legally, terminating a contract.

On Saturday, more than 300,000 people protested against TTIP, while on Tuesday thousands demonstrated outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels.

Guy Taylor, trade campaigner with Global Justice Now said “the death of TTIP is a victory for the ordinary people across Europe who stood alongside trade unions, civil society groups, activists and consumer watchdogs to prevent this massive corporate power grab."

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in