Negotiations for a Trans-Atlantic Trade Pact Resumed in Brussels

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Negotiations for a Trans-Atlantic Trade Pact Resumed in Brussels


Category: Business News

Eliminating decades of cumbersome tit-for-tat restrictions is a major goal of negotiators from the United States and the European Union at work on the accord, known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. They aim to reduce barriers between the world’s two largest trading partners, which already exchange $650 billion in goods and services each year.

From the European side, new impetus for freer trade came on Monday in the form of new industrial production data indicating that the eurozone’s incipient economic recovery might have taken a step backward. The importance of European-American auto production, meanwhile, was highlighted by Volkswagen’s announcement on Monday that it would open a new production line in Chattanooga, Tenn., to make sport utility vehicles.

And yet, the pro-trade consensus among political leaders on both sides of the ocean has been threatened lately by accusations that American intelligence agencies planted spies in the German government.

The talks have run into unexpectedly fierce popular opposition. In Europe, discussion about the economic benefits of an agreement has been overshadowed by fears that more open trade would expose the Continent to what are widely perceived as less stringent safety and environmental standards in the United States. (And once again, chickens play a big role.)

And in the United States, the Obama administration has hit a wall of opposition to trade liberalization in this midterm election year, mostly from congressional Democrats and their union allies, but also from populist, Tea Party supporters among Republican lawmakers.

Source: International New York Times

Published: June 25, 2024