Brussels “will continue to negotiate” the transatlantic free trade agreement (TAFTA or Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – TTIP).
The European Commission’s mandate to do this remains entirely valid, its President, Jean-Claude Juncker, confirmed yesterday (Sunday), outside the G20 summit in Hangzhou.
Giving a press conference, he went further, “Given the mandate” [that member states of the EU have granted the Commission] “we will continue to negotiate with the United States.”
This comes despite the evident friction shown at the heart of the French and German governments over the issue.
An irritated Mr Juncker said, “During the last European Council in June, I asked all heads of state and government (for member states) if they wanted us to continue negotiations. The response was a unanimous ‘yes ’.”
The dispute seems to be cranking up a gear amongst European governments, who are faced with strong public opinion opposition and the complete escalation of protectionist attempts across the globe.
The subject may therefore beckon discussion in the G20 summit at Hangzhou, in Eastern China.
This looks all the more likely since the United States is intending to continue or even accelerate talks.
Subject to negotiations since mid-2013 by Washington and the European Commission, the TTIP agreement, is intended to remove commercial and regulatory barriers to trade in both directions across the Atlantic.
The purpose is to create the largest free trade zone in the world, intended to boost economic activity.