The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, also known as TTIP, progressed very little, prompting Germany’s Vice-Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel to claim that the talks have failed although no one has admitted it.
The two countries met in Brussels last July for the 14th round of negotiations between the U.S. and the EU. The meeting was the third round in a span of six months.
Negotiations of the TTIP came to a standstill when the U.S. expressed reluctance to accept changes the EU is proposing, and leading politicians in Europe expressed concerns about the effects of the treaty.
Things went from bad to worse when France threatened to block the deal.
According to France’s President Hollande, he would “never accept” the deal because of provisions that would force the compliance of France and other European countries, in relation to farming and agriculture. He claims that the deal is too partial to American businesses.
“We will never accept questioning essential principles for our agriculture, our culture and for the reciprocity of access to public [procurement] markets,” Hollande saidduring a meeting of left-wing politicians in Paris, according to reports. “At this stage [of the talks] France says, ‘No’.”
On Sunday, Gabriel said, “In my opinion, the negotiations with the United States have de facto failed, even though nobody is really admitting it.” In the 27 chapters of the treaty both sides were unable to come to an agreement for even a single chapter.
Gabriel also said that the TTIP was not equitable for both sides unlike EU’s treaty with Canada: the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
According to critics, the TTIP will allow multinational companies to sue governments for enforcing actions that might damage their businesses. This would impede countries from enforcing various EU health, safety and environment regulations if companies challenge them in quasi-courts to settle disputes between parties.
The closest ally of the U.S. was the U.K. and Brexit has caused the U.S. to lose a staunch ally in the talks.
“The TTIP negotiations were already on pretty shaky ground before the EU referendum, and now the shockwaves of Brexit are threatening to derail the deal entirely,” said Nick Dearden of campaign group Global Justice Now. “With senior political figures from France and Italy signaling that the deal is dead in the water, surely it’s time for Cecilia Malmström [EU trade commissioner] to call time on this failed corporate coup.”
Dearden claims that the EU should push for the rights of the ordinary people in the region rather than to pander to the interests of a tiny group of financial elites.
Leading opposition leaders in the U.K. have been lobbying against the TTIP deal with the U.S. They fear that negotiations with the U.K. will be “even more disastrous” once it leaves the EU, calling it “TTIP on steroids.”