- Title: No TTIP before end of year, France's Hollande says
- Date: 21st October 2016
- Summary: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (OCTOBER 21, 2016) (REUTERS) JOURNALISTS AND CAMERAMEN AT NEWS CONFERENCE
- Embargoed: 5th November 2016 14:56
- Keywords: EU trade CETA Canada TTIP United States Hollande
- Location: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
- City: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
- Country: Belgium
- Topics: European Union
- Reuters ID: LVA00354Y7UIV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:French President Francois Hollande said after a two day meeting of EU leaders in Brussels on Friday (October 21) that a free trade agreement between the European Union and the U.S., the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), would not be sealed before end of the year.
"Those who claimed it would be possible to reach an agreement before the end of the year don't make this claim anymore. There will not be an agreement by the end of the year. Of course, talks must go on with the new U.S. administration but there cannot be a date today and, in that regard, the TTIP would have to be thoroughly reviewed if it was to come to existence," Hollande told reporters.
This is not the first time a French official casts doubt about the chances a deal can be reached under the current U.S. administration.
In August, French Trade Minister Matthias Fekl said he would request a halt to TTIP talks after German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel declared that talks were "de facto dead".
Ahead of elections in France and Germany next year, politicians are keenly aware that TTIP is not a vote winner.
Observers said both are responding to public mistrust of a deal that critics say would lower environmental and food standards and allow foreign multinationals to challenge government policies.
In the U.S., Obama has promoted the accord, saying it would fuel growth. But the public mood is turning increasingly negative, with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump making attacks on international trade deals a cornerstone of his campaign, saying they have cost U.S. jobs.
His opponent, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, has also stepped back from her previous support for free trade when she was U.S. Secretary of State, and has questioned whether trade deals hold down U.S. wages.
Hollande's comments came as Canadian trade minister Chrystia Freeland announced the failure of trade talks between the European Union and Canada, after talks collapsed with the Belgian region of Wallonia, the last remaining impediment to a deal.
Contradicting EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Hollande denied the failure would mean the end to forthcoming trade agreements between the 28-member bloc and other countries.
"This is why I think the deal with Canada was very useful to counterbalance the TTIP. And because we had managed to make enough progress with Canada we could refuse (to sign) TTIP. We should not let anyone think that it will no longer be possible to reach a new single commercial agreement with whichever country. On the contrary, it must be based on a reference," Hollande said.
The U.S ambassador to Germany, John B. Emerson, told a German broadcaster on Tuesday that the two sides were close to bridging differences on many sticking points and that Obama would make a final push for a deal after the U.S. election on November 8.
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