Angela Merkel's 'hasty' approach to TTIP trade deal condemned by the German Vice-Chancellor

'If the Americans hold fast to this position, we don't need the free trade treaty. And TTIP will fail,' says Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel

Matt Payton@paytesy89
Monday 30 May 2016 23:13
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel deliver remarks at a press conference held at the conclusion of a two-day retreat of the German cabinet in Meseberg, Germany
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel deliver remarks at a press conference held at the conclusion of a two-day retreat of the German cabinet in Meseberg, Germany

The German Vice Chancellor has condemned the current state of the TTIP trade deal with the United States, calling it "a bad deal".

Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel is the Economy Minister and the chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) - the junior coalition partner to Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

Mr Gabriel criticised Angela Merkel for repeatedly stating negotiations for the US-EU trade deal by the end of the year "under any circumstances".

He told German Newspaper group, RND: "It was wrong that, in the euphoria of [President Barack] Obama's visit to Germany, the Chancellor said that we will be able to conclude negotiations under any circumstances by the end of this year – and that she recently repeated that statement.

"The SPD will not to be part of a bad deal, I will never approve an agreement that retains [the right for the companies to appeal to] non-transparent private commercial courts."

German political commentators have suggested Mr Gabriel has been under pressure from the left-wing of the SDP to reject any involvement in the negotiations.

Mr Gabriel added: "If the Americans hold fast to this position, we don't need the free trade treaty. And TTIP will fail.

"TTIP in the form, in which it is negotiated now, will never lead to success...we need more fair trade instead of just more free trade."

Earlier in the month, Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt from the CSU criticised the Americans for hardly making "any serious concessions".

Mr Schmidt said the country would not stand for American compromises regarding the German automotive industry at the expense of German agriculture.

He said: "We won't sacrifice our high food safety standards in a barter trade for approval of European car blinkers."

What is TTIP?

There has been opposition across the European Union with protests having taken place in Hanover during negotiations with the United States.

French President Francois Hollande has stated he would reject the current deal as they "oppose unregulated free trade" and as such the TTIP goes against France's "essential principles".

Despite David Cameron's denials, campaigners claim the TTIP could lead to selling off of the NHS by breaking down protections of public services.

Mr Cameron said: "There are plenty of reasons that people don’t want to see trade expanded.

"I think they should be honest about it and say they don’t like trade deals rather than using the red herring of the NHS to distract from a trade deal that could add tens of billions to our economy and generate jobs."

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