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EU-U.S. Talks on TTIP in Critical Stage | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A large poster that reads ‘Yes – we want TTIP’. Reuters

Brussels-Unlike the vision of the German Minister of Economy, Sigmar Gabriel, the European Commission sees that hammering a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership-TTIP between the European Union and the United States is still possible.

Spokesman of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas said in Brussels on Monday that the commissioner is ready to finalize TTIP by the end of the year and pointed that talks on the agreement are witnessing a critical phase. During an interview with ZDF TV, Gabriel, who is also Germany’s Vice-Chancellor, considered the talks have failed and that as Europeans, they should not relinquish to the U.S. demands.

However, the German Chancellor has seen that chances to make the talks successful are still there; Steffen Seibert, spokesperson of the German Government, said that talks should continue; The Commission has the same opinion and according to its spokesperson, negotiations will be held based on a unanimous mandate among the Union’s member states.

Schinas said that Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, has asserted that security, health, social, and data protection standards will not be sacrificed for the sake of trade. He added that the agreement’s features are still foggy, therefore, officials should wait before launching negative judgements.

German economic circles have called the Federal Government to enhance its support for the European Commission during the talks on the TTIP between the EU and the United States.

The federal government should strengthen the back of the European Commission, said Matthias Wissmann, President of the Association of the automotive industry (VDA).

The engineering federation VDMA has also urged Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Sigmar Gabriel to implement the agreement with the United States.

The planned TTIP is supposed to limit trade barriers between the two economic zones; but negotiations have been witnessing procrastination.

German chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman said that while Europe and the United States still disagree over certain parts of a free trade deal, the talks are not over yet.

Steffen Seibert also told reporters in Berlin it is “right to continue negotiating,” noting that often a breakthrough is only achieved in the final round.

However, while criticizing TTIP, Sigmar Gabriel stressed on his support to the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) proposed between the EU and Canada.