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Obama and Merkel push for TTIP deal

Most EU media report on US President Barack Obama’s visit to Hanover, Germany, on Sunday, to speed up the negotiation process for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement (TTIP) between Europe and the United States. US media report that the two leaders called for action on the TTIP, saying the window to strike a deal soon could close. According to Xinhuanet.com, Barack Obama said it is “indisputable” that the TTIP will make both the EU and US economies stronger and more competitive compared to other regions of the world.

Most media report that President Obama said yesterday that he hoped to complete a trade pact with the EU by the end of the year. “I don’t anticipate that we will be able to complete ratification of a deal by the end of this year, but I do anticipate that we will have completed the agreement,” he said, as quoted by The International New York Times. Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, visiting Helsinki last Friday, told the Finnish paper Kauppalehti that there is still a chance of reaching an agreement on TTIP before Obama leaves office.

In order to succeed in finalising the TTIP agreement, negotiations must be fierce and the US must be more willing to consider the EU’s concerns, as for example the question of arbitration courts, Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in an interview with ZDF. In an interview with Handelsblatt, Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel added that the TTIP treaty is destined to “fail” unless the US ma

kes concessions. LRT televizija highlights that “time is running out,” while resistance keeps growing among demonstrators and governments. But although both sides reported good progress during the latest round of negotiations in February, a survey by the Bertelsmann foundation on Thursday found that public support for the deal in the US and Germany has plummeted with fewer than 20% of respondents in both countries seen as actively supporting the deal, compared to over 50% in 2014, The Irish Times and Luxemburger Wort report.

In an op-ed in SZ, Alexander Hagelïken argues that Europe would benefit from the deal and could counteract the indications of a weakening global economy. Meanwhile on I Télé, Matthias Fekl, French Junior Secretary for Foreign Trade, denounced the democratic deficit surrounding the TTIP negotiations. Several media also note that on Saturday, tens of thousands of people demonstrated against the TTIP in Hannover.

Today, the 13th round of negotiations will be starting in New York, while Barack Obama will meet with Angela Merkel, François Hollande, Matteo Renzi and David Cameron to discuss the situation of countries under strong refugee pressure, the fight against terrorism and the joint strategy for dealing with Russia’s aggressive behaviour in Eastern Europe, Äripäev writes. The negotiations will revolve around the establishment of a new regulatory framework for trade. “The more we advance on this aspect, the easier it will be to find political compromises on outstanding issues”, a Commission spokesperson commented, as quoted by La Croix.

The Commission will use the 13th round of negotiations to defend a proposal aimed at reducing red tape and costs in the pharmaceutical field “without sacrificing standards,” La Croix and El Mundo write.

©europeanunion2016

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