German economy minister says EU-US trade talks have failed

German economy minister says EU-US trade talks have failed

German economy minister says EU-US trade talks have failed

But despite a weekend comment by German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel that the talks had "de facto failed", which found an echo on Tuesday by French Trade Minister Matthias Fekl, the European Commission says negotiations are making steady progress and there is an outline of a future agreement.

The deal is aimed at boosting trade and investment between the United States and Europe, Alden says.

The TTIP is a EU-US free trade treaty project that was dubbed as controversial the moment it was proposed three years ago and has been criticized for its secretiveness and lack of accountability ever since.

France will make this case at a meeting of foreign trade ministers in Bratislava in September, Fekl added.

Austria's economy minister has said talks on an EU-US free trade agreement should be halted, adding his voice to an increasingly polarised debate on both sides of the Atlantic over whether to keep the negotiations going.

President Obama's chief negotiator, US Trade Representative Michael Froman, had made the same claim on Sunday. Kern is due to hold a press conference on TTIP on Friday.

Politico reports that many Social Democrats are no less skeptical of a trade agreement with Canada, which has already been negotiated and is pending ratification by the EU's member states.

French President Francois Hollande later the day told French ambassadors that the deal was "clearly unbalanced" and "a positive conclusion" over the deal was unlikely to be clinched by the end of this year.

The European Commission, which is leading the negotiations on behalf of EU states, insists a deal is still possible by the end of 2016.

Meanwhile, EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom tweeted that she was having a video conference today with U.S. trade representative Michael Froman to discuss TTIP. Supporters say it could pump tens of billions of dollars into the US and European economies. Trade unions as well think that the deal would harm the continent in fields such as agriculture, medicine and culture.

Froman has said Britain's European Union exit will affect TTIP because Britain consumes about a quarter of USA exports to the bloc.

However, a European Commission spokesperson earlier said of Gabriel's comments: "It is worth mentioning that although trade talks take time, the ball is rolling right now, and the Commission is making steady progress in the ongoing TTIP negotiations". But fears have persisted in Europe that the deal will require the region to accept USA -backed technologies, such as biotech crops, that the region opposes.

Gabriel noted that after 14 rounds of talks, the two sides have yet to agree on even one chapter out of the 27 being discussed.

However, the deal, which was supposed to be concluded this year and which has been roundly supported by President Obama, now faces problems in the USA too, with both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton expressing reservations as they mount their bids to become the next U.S. president.

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