Merkel and Trump approach TTIP through the back door

26 April 2018

Tomorrow, April 27, German Chancellor Merkel will visit Trump to discuss trade policies and next steps to avoid an escalating trade war with the US.

US President Trump has given the EU a one-month exemption from new measures to increase import tariffs on steel and aluminium entering the US market- until May 1st. The EU wants this exemption to be permanent and is already discussing a mini deal with the US.

This mini deal would risk reviving highly controversial elements of the TTIP negotiations, such as measures of regulatory cooperation to increase market access for foreign products, in closed-door negotiations without transparency and democratic scrutiny. European standards would be at stake if US exporters are granted increased access to the EU market for products such as cars, industrial machinery, agricultural goods and pharmaceuticals, as currently demanded by the US government.

To BBC, Roger Johnson, president of America's National Farmers Union said that chlorine-washed chicken and hormone-injected beef should be part of a UK/US free trade deal. The United States Trade Representative, which draws up policy recommendations for the President, said that the EU bans on American food "unnecessarily restrict trade" and were not based on "scientific principles".

Paul de Clerck, trade campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said:
“The EU is approaching TTIP through the back door. We risk ending up in a murky and non-transparent process with food or pharmaceutical products that don’t comply with European standards. This is unacceptable. TTIP negotiations should not be re-opened, no matter in what format.”

Arnd Spahn, Agricultural secretary at European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions said:
”Without the ratification of ILO core labour standards no trade agreement should be negotiated. Workers' rights, hygiene standards and food safety regulations must not be reduced. Therefore: No to TTIP - that was valid yesterday and is still valid today.”