Controversial TTIP negotiations wrap up in New York

Global Business

A new round of talks on a controversial trade agreement between Europe and the United States wrapped up in New York this week.

Negotiators say they have made progress in some key areas but the discussions come at trying time for trade advocates.

There is widespread opposition on both sides of the Atlantic making it unlikely a deal will come through anytime soon.

CCTV America’s Karina Huber reports.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters in Europe took to the streets this September to oppose the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership or “TTIP.”

They worry the deal will harm the environment, food safety and workers’ rights. They believe it could lead to higher drug costs and make it easier for companies to sue other countries.

The American Federation of Labor is on the proposed partnership’s advisory committee but trade policy specialist Celeste Drake says it cannot support the deal as it currently stands.

Proponents admit TTIP could cause job losses but say it will also lead to job gains and boost the economy amounting to a net benefit. But many aren’t buying it.

Part of the mistrust stems from the secretive approach to the negotiations. The press, unions and environmentalists have been given very little access making it difficult to assess what’s at stake.

The agreement was first proposed in 2013. Since then there have been many rounds of discussions but in August, Germany’s economy minister said the talks had failed because Washington wasn’t willing to compromise. This week 90 E.U. negotiators came to New York for five days of talks to try and smooth out some of the sticking points.

At the end of the meeting both sides said they had made progress in many areas and remained as committed as ever but admitted work still needs to be done on key issues like government procurements and market access.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently said talks should continue but few believe a deal is likely before the end of U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration.

Another controversial trade agreement backed by Obama, the Trans Pacific Partnership or “TPP,” is also stalling. Presidential Republican nominee Donald Trump has vowed to kill TPP and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton who once called it the “gold standard” of trade deals has now distanced herself from it. But, this may all change after the election in November.