From the Telegraph, Aug. 30:
Trade wars: Why the central pillar of global order is in danger of collapse as TTIP disintegrates
The Transatlantic pact intended to unite Europe and North America in a vast free trade zone is close to collapse after France called for a complete suspension of talks, accusing the US of blocking any workable compromise.
“Political support in France for these negotiations no longer exists,” said Matthias Fekl, the French commerce secretary.
Mr Fekl said his country would request a formal decision by EU ministers at a summit in Bratislava to drop the hotly-contested deal, known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
“The Americans are offering nothing, or just crumbs. That is not how allies should negotiate. There must be a clear and definite halt to these talks, to restart them later on a proper basis,” he said.
The project is infinitely more than a trade deal. It is part of a strategic push to bind together the two halves of North Atlantic civilisation at a dangerous moment when the Western liberal order is under threat. The two sides are currently drifting towards divorce.
“TTIP was supposed to set the rules for the global trade,” said Rem Korteweg, a trade expert at the Centre for European Reform. “It was to be a central pillar of an alliance of like-minded countries. If it all falls apart in acrimony, what kind of global governance are we going to have?” he said.
Mr Fekl’s hard-line comments were echoed in slightly softer language by French president François Hollande, who said on Tuesday that there was no chance of a deal on TTIP before the next administration takes power in Washington.
“The talks have become bogged down, the positions have not been respected, and the imbalance is obvious. It is better that we face up to this candidly rather than prolong a discussion on foundations that cannot succeed,” he said.
It is hard to judge how much of the rhetoric from Paris is negotiating brinkmanship as the TTIP talks reach a critical phase, or more likely posturing by the French socialist party in advance of elections next May. The socialist working-class base is peeling off en masse to the Front National of Marine Le Pen, who excoriates globalisation as the “law of the jungle”....MORE