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Germany’s Economy Minister Announces Failed U.S.-EU Free Trade Talks

Germany’s Economy Minister Announces Failed U.S.-EU Free Trade Talks
Talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a free trade deal being negotiated by the United States and the European Union, has all but failed, said Germany's Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Sunday.
"The negotiations with the USA have de facto failed because we Europeans did not want to subject ourselves to American demands," he said. this was revealed in a written transcript of an interview which is to be broadcast on Sunday on the German broadcaster ZDF.
"Things are not moving on that front," said Gabriel, who is also Germany's vice chancellor.
The U.S. and the EU have differences over various issues, including agriculture and both the sides had sought to conclude talks in 2016 and have been negotiating the TTIP for three years.
"The talks with the US have de facto failed because we Europeans of course must not succumb to American demands. Nothing is moving forward," he told the public broadcaster ZDF.
The ratification of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would create the world's largest free trade area.
Rising opposition to the deal in France and Germany and Britain's shock vote to leave the EU have bogged down the negotiations down over the terms of the agreement. It is highly unlikely that the agreement would be achieved by the end of the year as hoped by the setbacks.
The deal would only benefit multinationals and harm consumers, activists who have opposed TTIP since negotiations began in 2013 say.
On the other hand, German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said that if other member countries followed U.K’s lead, Europe would go "down the drain" while claiming that the Britain's exit from the European Union was badly handled.
"Brexit is bad but it won't hurt us as much economically as some fear - it's more of a psychological problem and it's a huge problem politically," Gabriel, the deputy to Chancellor Angela Merkel in Germany's governing coalition, told a news conference.
The world was now looking at Europe as an unstable continent, he added.
"If we organise Brexit in the wrong way, then we'll be in deep trouble so now we need to make sure that we don't allow Britain to keep the nice things, so to speak, related to Europe while taking no responsibility," Gabriel said.
All eyes have been on Germany to indicate a way out of danger for the 27 members who will remain, since Britain's stunning June 23 referendum vote to leave the European Union.
The remaining member states must avoid rushing into policy decisions and listen to each other carefully, Merkel said on Aug. 24.

"If you do it wrong from the beginning and you don't listen, – and act just for the sake of acting - then you can make many mistakes," the conservative German leader said.
To prepare the groundwork for a Sept. 16 EU summit in Bratislava aimed at shoring up the battered bloc, Merkel has met 15 other European heads of state during the past week.
Prime Minister Theresa May will not begin formal divorce talks with the EU before the end of the year, a British government spokesman said in mid-August.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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