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24 Apr, 2016 10:45

TTIP ‘will fail’ unless US makes concessions – German minister

TTIP ‘will fail’ unless US makes concessions – German minister

If the US continues to insist on the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) in its current form, it may ruin the entire free-trade deal, German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel warned ahead of US President Barack Obama’s visit to Germany.

"The Americans want to hold fast to their 'Buy American' idea. We can't accept that. They don't want to open their public tenders to European companies. For me, that goes against free trade," Gabriel, who is also Germany’s deputy chancellor, told business newspaper Handelsblatt.

"If the Americans hold fast to this position, we don't need the free trade treaty. And TTIP will fail," he warned.

Gabriel said that the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), a free-trade treaty that the EU and Canada have negotiated, is a good model for TTIP.

Washington is pushing for TTIP to be signed before year’s end, but there is a strong opposition to the deal in many European nations, including Germany. Critics say the treaty would erode strict European standards for labor and environment protection and put the interest of international corporations above those of the nations they operate in.

Tens of thousands of opponents of TTIP staged a protest in Hannover on Saturday ahead of the arrival of US President Obama on Sunday. Obama is to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss the deal.

Obama earlier landed in hot water in Britain after arguing against a potential British exit from the EU. He said Britain would lose from such a move because it would exclude the country from TTIP and send the country to the “back of the queue” in trade talks for at least a decade.

Some Eurosceptic Britons saw it as a veiled threat and an attack on their country’s sovereignty.