Germany’s economy minister Sigmar Gabriel has described negotiations between the US and the EU over the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) as “failed,” the Associated Press is reporting.
The TTIP is a gargantuan free trade deal that aims to streamline integration between US and EU markets. Private negotiations over the deal have appeared to move at a glacial pace since it was first drafted in 2013, while public criticism has grown in both Germany and the US. Gabriel made his statement during an interview with German broadcaster ZDF.
Drafts of TTIP are confidential, but occasional leaks have given observers plenty to crow about. The agreement has been criticized for lax health and safety standards, for defaulting power to vast international corporations, for weak environmental protections, and for all the economic reasons that typically make free trade deals controversial, such as concerns over losing jobs to overseas competitors. A European “Stop TTIP” petition has received more than 3.5 million signatures.
Earlier this year, Gabriel warned that TTIP would fail if the US did not make additional concessions. If his prediction has now come to pass, it will be a significant blow to both Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Barack Obama, who have worked together to promote the deal. The US, in particular, had hoped that TTIP would complement its Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership (TTP) agreement with Pacific Rim countries, which was signed earlier this year and awaits ratification by Congress.