Germany's Merkel rejects economy minister's claims on TTIP

Germany says negotiations on the controversial EU-US TTIP trade deal have stalled

Germany's Merkel rejects economy minister's claims on TTIP

The European Commission on Monday insisted talks on a huge USA free trade agreement were on track, rejecting German claims that irreconcilable differences had left the deal dead in the water.

"The ball keeps rolling on TTIP", Schinas said.

US protectionism is being blamed by French and German government ministers for important free trade talks between the USA and the European Union teetering on the brink of collapse.

"The negotiations with the USA have de facto failed, because we as Europeans, of course, should not subject ourselves to American demands", Gabriel said in an interview with German ZDF television on Weekend. "Talks are now, indeed, entering a crucial stage, as we have proposals for nearly all chapters on the table and a good sense about the outline of the future agreement", Margaritis said in a briefing. Opponents of the deal have been staging protests in a number of European cities.

Both the European Union's lead negotiator in trade talks with the United States and the spokesman for Germany's chancellor on Monday downplayed assertions that negotiations on the proposed landmark pact have collapsed.

“[They] have failed because we Europeans did not want to subject ourselves to American demands.”.

Germany's governing left-right coalition is divided over TTIP.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman said that while Europe and the United States still disagree over parts of the potential free trade deal, commonly known as TTIP, the talks aren't over yet.

"TTIP can't be sacrificed to the election campaign that's beginning", said Matthias Wissmann, head of the powerful German Automotive Industry Association.

When asked Monday by The Associated Press whether the claims were true, chief European Union negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero said: "No, no". Steffen Seibert told reporters it is "right to continue negotiating", noting that often a breakthrough is only achieved "in the final round". He said Europeans don't want to "subject ourselves to American demands" and highlighted that out of the 27 chapters of the deal that have been discussed, global negotiators have yet to fully agree on any of them.

"Talks are now indeed entering a crucial stage but ... provided the conditions are right, the Commission stands ready to close this deal by the end of the year", Schinas said.

"At the last [summit], precisely because we were entering this hard and complex stage, President Juncker addressed his counterparts, checking whether there was political backing to conclude the deal by the end of the year", Schinas said. We have to defend our interests, but we also have to negotiate and conclude this agreement.

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