US trade expert: TTIP is on hold, not dead

Contrary to German Vice Chancellor Gabriel’s assertion, transatlantic trade deal talks have not failed, a US trade expert tells DW. Instead, she notes, negotiations have hit a temporary impasse for two reasons.

DW: German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said on Sunday that the transatlantic trade talks had effectively failed. He repeated his view today in a news conference during which he blamed the US for the collapse of the talks, saying that he believes “the Americans actively ended TTIP because they weren’t prepared to make compromises with Europeans.” How are Gabriel’s comments being received in Washington?

Caroline Freund: I would say that the TTIP negotiations have hit an impasse for two reasons: the Brexit on the European side, and the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) approval on the US side. The comments come at a time when things are tough to begin with for TTIP because TTIP can’t really happen until after TPP gets approved. And that is clearly on hold now given what has been said on the US side. So on the US side, TTIP is on hold because of TPP, on the European side it is on hold because of Brexit. And that changes the whole negotiation because the UK is a pretty big player in Europe. So you have these two distinct sticking points. So in some sense I don’t take these comments all that seriously, because they are coming at a time when negotiations in some sense are on hold anyway.

Explaining his view that TTIP is dead, Gabriel noted that after 14 rounds of talks the US and the EU had failed to agree on even one chapter of the 27 being discussed.

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