Free Trade Deal

Waking Up to Trade Opposition

Can these people still be persuaded?
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The U.S.-E.U. free-trade deal known as TTIP could be a boon or a burden for the European economy, depending on who you ask.

  • Facts


    • U.S. and E.U. negotiators are hoping to reach a deal by the end of this year on a free-trade deal between the world’s two largest economic blocs.
    • Germany has led opposition to the free-trade deal, fearing it will limit the ability of governments to regulate consumer goods.
    • Over 40 percent of all E.U exports to the United States come from Germany.
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Thilo Bode is anything but a fan of the U.S.-E.U. free-trade deal. In fact, the former head of Greenpeace is among its toughest critics in Germany, a country that has shown more resistance to the trans-Atlantic deal than perhaps any country in Europe.

But even Mr. Bode doesn’t deny that companies would profit enormously from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, currently being negotiated by the European Union and the United States.

“It is clear without a doubt that companies will profit from TTIP,” said Mr. Bode, who is now managing director of food industry watchdog Foodwatch.

For Mr. Bode, economic benefit is not the only measure of whether it’s a good deal for Europe. He thinks the agreement would intervene too much in a state’s ability to develop and maintain standards.

Is what’s good for the economy really also good for a country? And for its population? That, in a nutshell, sums up the deep disagreements in Germany over the merits of a trans-Atlantic free-trade deal, which would reduce trade barriers between the world’s two largest economic blocs.

The fears that TTIP might destroy European consumer standards – whether justified or not – is a dynamic that has caught many free-trade supporters by surprise. Many had expected the deal to get a much easier ride. Now, it seems that many are starting to wake up to the threat that opposition could torpedo the whole free-trade experiment.

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