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German Economy Minister Says TTIP Talks Have Failed

Despite notes of positivity on the deal’s progress, free trade talks for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership have failed.

That’s at least according to Germany’s economy minster who said Sunday that TTIP, a trade deal the U.S. is working on with the EU, hasn’t really progressed at all during the long-running negotiations.

“In my opinion, the negotiations with the United States have de facto failed, even though nobody is really admitting it,” the Associated Press reported Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s vice chancellor, as saying during a question and answer session with citizens in Berlin.

Gabriel said that in the 14 rounds of talks, neither party has agreed on one item out of the 27 chapters up for discussion. He also expressed the belief that the U.S. may not be moving forward with TTIP because it’s “angry” about the newly negotiated EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which reportedly has elements in it that the U.S. isn’t pleased with.

“We mustn’t submit to the American proposals,” AP reported Gabriel as saying, though his ministry isn’t involved in negotiations with Washington as trade deals are handled at the EU level.

Gabriel’s comments stand in contrast with the rest of the buzz about TTIP right now.

EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström said in June that the rationale for finalizing TTIP was even stronger post Brexit, that the deal is “worth the effort” and that EU citizens “need the opportunities that this can provide.”

While she admitted there was ample work remaining to be done in negotiating the deal, she still reiterated hope that it could happen before year end.

Last month German chancellor Angela Merkel said the TTIP is “absolutely right and important, and absolutely in Europe’s best interest.”

On the U.S. side, Bill Jackson, assistant U.S. Trade Representative for textiles at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) said at Sourcing at Magic earlier this month that President Obama is committed to moving forward with the agreement this year.

“TTIP negotiations are at a fairly advanced stage, but there’s still a lot that needs to be done,” Jackson said.

According to AP, even though Germany’s Gabriel isn’t directly involved in TTIP talks, his comments could further complicate the already slow-going negotiations.