EU: Reports of US trade pact’s death greatly exaggerated

Both the European Union’s lead negotiator in trade talks with the United States and the spokesman for Germany’s chancellor on Monday downplayed assertions that negotiations on the proposed landmark pact have collapsed.

German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, who is also Germany’s vice chancellor, had said Sunday that “in my opinion, the negotiations with the United States have de facto failed, even though nobody is really admitting it.”

Asked Monday by The Associated Press whether Gabriel’s claims were true, chief EU negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero says: “No, no. Remember what Mark Twain said.” Twain once quipped that reports of his death were “greatly exaggerated.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman said that while Europe and the United States still disagree over certain parts of the free trade deal, known as TTIP, the talks aren’t over yet.

Steffen Seibert also tells reporters in Berlin it is “right to continue negotiating,” noting that often a breakthrough is only achieved “in the final round.”

— AP

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