The French Minister for Foreign Trade, Matthias Fekl, confirmed on Tuesday that the grinding to a halt of negotiations on the Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreemrnt (TTIP or TAFTA) was today looking like “the most likely option,” because of the “stance taken by the United States.” “In view of the stance taken by the US today, this seems like the most likely option,” confirmed the Minister on Europe 1, when asked about the potential abandonment of negotiations. On Monday Greenpeace published a 248-page document proving, in the view of the NGO, the extent of the harmful consequences that the agreement was likely to have for negotiations as regards Health and the Environment.
“For a year now, I have denounced the attitude (of the US).” the Minister insisted. “We simply desire reciprocity. Europe is offering a lot and receiving very little back in return. This is not acceptable,” confirmed Mr Fekl, considering at the present time the agreement is “absolutely not” acceptable “in its current draft form.”
M. Fekl listed some conditions to find common ground with Washington. “We wish for our SMEs have access to the US market. We wish to protect agriculture, and protected geographical indications” he explained.
The Minister also demanded that environmental standards be respected. “It would make no sense to have made the Cop 21 agreement in Paris in December and then to, some months afterwards, sign an agreement which would unpick it”, he conmfirmed.
As for the precautionary principal, defended by the Europeans, M. Fekl remains adamant that “the Americans won’t hear of it. We are stuck in negotiations which are totally at an impasse,” he added.
Negotiated with the highest level of confidentiality since mid-2013, the TTIP agreement aims to remove obstacles and regulations to trade between of the Atlantic to create a huge cross-continent free-trade zone.
Lars Andersen (Source: Belga)