Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to discuss the
Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with U.S.
President Barack Obama when he visits a trade show in Hanover on
Sunday and Monday. The visit comes at a time when support for
TTIP has plunged in Germany and the United States.
In an interview published on Friday, Froman told the newspaper
Handelsblatt he wanted an agreement on TTIP this year but not at
any cost. "We won't agree to a sort of 'TTIP Lite'," he said.
Asked whether it was realistic to conclude talks on TTIP in
2016, Froman said the EU and the U.S. had a "unique opportunity"
if both sides had the political will for an agreement.
"If we don't get it done, then we create a great deal of
uncertainty on whether we will ever get it done," he said.
On Wednesday, German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said TTIP
negotiations were "frozen up" and their success or failure
depended on Washington.
Merkel defended TTIP on Friday, saying it was an opportunity for
the "Mittelstand" - the small and medium-sized companies seen as
the backbone of Germany's economy, many of which worry the deal
would give too much power to multinationals. Merkel said it
would give them advantages on the U.S. market.
Speaking at an event hosted by the German brewing association in
Ingolstadt, Merkel said the beer industry was increasingly
benefiting from exports given that beer consumption in Germany
"So I encourage the critics of the free trade agreement to have
another think about it," she said.
German government said at a news conference on Friday Berlin
aimed to conclude TTIP negotiations by the end of 2016 and
Merkel would stress that to Obama in her discussions with him in
The United States is Germany's biggest trading partner.
Advocates of the trade deal say it would unleash further growth
while critics warn it could undermine consumer rights and
(Reporting by Michelle Martin in Berlin and Joern Poltz in
Ingolstadt; Editing by Andrew Roche)
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