European Union (EU) trade ministers agreed on Friday to commission a consolidated document for negotiations on a free trade agreement with the United States, take stock of the situation and then wait for the position of the new U.S. administration following the election of Donald Trump to the White House. Trump’s election as president of the United States opens up a period of uncertainty for trade treaties under negotiation since he had announced his intention to pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement just concluded with various Asian, Central and South American countries along with Australia, Canada and New Zealand, and even from the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement.
On Friday, trade ministers from the 28 EU member States agreed to review progress in the negotiations on the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) on the basis of a consolidated document. There, too, they will be looking at ways to improve transparency and communication, Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders told the Belgian news agency, Agence Belga, even as the TTIP is coming up against increasing resistance within the population and even in political circles.
“Then we’ll wait and see the Americans’ position on the TTIP,” Reynders said. While Donald Trump has not made any specific statements on that partnership agreement, “some Europeans, fearing a fire, wanted to burn the house down themselves,” Reynders said. “In fact, we prefer to wait and see.”