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France to demand an end to EU-US trade deal talks

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France to demand an end to EU-US trade deal talks
Photo: AFP
08:16 CEST+02:00
French president François Hollande said no trade deal between the EU and the US is possible before Obama leaves office as a minister says it's time to pull the plug on talks because the Americans are only offering "crumbs" in return.

Hollande said the massive trade deal between the European Union and the United States could not be reached before Obama leaves office in January 2017.

Earlier on Tuesday France's junior minister for trade said France will ask the European Commission next month to end negotiations on .

"There is no more political support in France for these negotiations" and "France calls for an end to these negotiations," Matthias Fekl told RMC radio.

The minister has long complained the deal was heavily weighted in favour of the US and has previously warned Washington that Paris was ready to reject any agreement.

"The Americans give nothing or just crumbs... that is not how negotiations are done between allies," Fekl said on Tuesday.

"We need a clear and definitive halt to these negotiations in order to restart on a good foundation".

France will make this case at a meeting of foreign trade ministers in Bratislava in September, Fekl added.

Negotiators from the US and the EU are in talks to finalise the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) which would create the world's largest free trade area.

But any chances of a deal now appear impossible.

Fekl's words come just days after German Vice Chancellor  Sigmar Gabriel said that negotiations on the massive trade deal between the European Union and the United States were effectively dead in the water.

"The talks with the US have de facto failed because we Europeans of course must not succumb to American demands," he told public broadcaster ZDF.

"Nothing is moving forward."

However Brussels is more positive and on Monday the European Commission insisted talks were on track.

"The ball is rolling right now. The Commission is making steady progress," Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said.

The EU and US began work on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) in 2013, aiming to create the world's largest free trade area by the time President Barack Obama leaves office in January next year.

But the negotiations have been bogged down over the terms of the agreement as well as Britain's shock vote to leave the EU and rising opposition to the deal in France and Germany.

The setbacks have raised serious doubts that it will be achieved by the end of the year as hoped.

Activists who have opposed TTIP since negotiations began in 2013 say the deal would only benefit multinationals and harm consumers.

France's Prime Minister Manuel Valls has said it would be "impossible" for the two sides to conclude negotiations on a trade deal by the end of 2016.

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