French Minister Says EU-U.S. Trade Talks Dead as TTIP Wobbles

France’s trade minister said the U.S. hasn’t offered anything substantial and that talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership should end.

“These negotiations are dead and France wants an end to them,” Minister of Foreign Trade Matthias Fekl said Tuesday on RMC Radio. “There is no political support in France for these negotiations.”

Fekl’s comments follow those of German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, who said the day before in Berlin that TTIP talks “have de-facto broken down, even if no one wants to say so.”

The European Commission, which is carrying out the talks on the Europe Union’s behalf, on Monday responded to Gabriel’s comments by saying the talks are making progress and are entering a crucial stage. Italy’s Economic Development Minister Carlo Calenda said in an interview with Corriere della Sera that talks are going ahead but will require many more months.

Fekl said France would ask for an end to the talks in late September when EU trade ministers meet in Bratislava.

Fekl said the talks have been carried out in “obscurity” and “the Americans have given nothing.”

The TTIP talks have been held in several rounds since 2013. Because tariffs between the world’s two largest trading blocs are already low or non-existent, the talks have focused on sensitive and hard-to-resolve issues such as European bans on common U.S. agricultural practices such as chlorine-washed chicken and hormone-treated beef, and U.S. laws that limit many public contracts to local companies.

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