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durch  |  03-Sep-2016 23:26

Since initiating the secretive negotiations in 2013, President Barack Obama and his European counterparts have promised that the treaty known as TTIP—short for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership— would cut the red tape that limits trade between the U. “Our impression is that this is indeed, as we had feared, a document that puts large corporations, corporate power at the center of policy making,” Daniel Mittler, the political director at Greenpeace International, told me after presenting the leaked files at a press conference in Berlin on May 2.He added: “It is not a treaty that is designed to help small business or, indeed, people and the public good.” That is exactly the impression that President Obama tried to dispel when he visited Germany last week.“I hope it’s not a crime to speak about this,” she told me recently about the experience. But the shroud of secrecy around the deal has not only strained transatlantic relations and provoked a massive popular backlash; it has also been embarrassingly ineffective at keeping the agreement under wraps.

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A broad spectrum of German society—from right-wing Eurosceptics and nationalists to left-wing environmentalists and consumer protection groups—have all found common cause in opposing the deal. counterpart, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, when they appeared at a panel discussion in Hannover. still refuse to post official versions of the deal online. negotiator, who is herself a from a powerful family of Chicago billionaires, did not seem moved. “There is always going to be some element of compromise,” Pritzker said.

In the last few years, their improbable alliance has gathered millions of signatures against TTIP and staged enormous rallies across the country, including one protest that greeted Obama on the eve of his arrival in Hannover. “It must be possible to allow somebody to look” at what’s already been agreed, Gabriel said, because the secrecy around the talks “creates a lot of conspiracy; this creates mistrust.” It also seems rather pointless. “I think sometimes it would be good to be a little bit more, let’s say, flexible,” he told Pritzker. “You can’t negotiate something as complex as a trade agreement in the press, where it’s a referendum on every issue,” Pritzker said, echoing an argument that E. “So you can’t do it out in the open.” At the same time, she added: “What’s important is that we begin to debunk these myths that are out there.” Gabriel has been trying to do that.

One afternoon in early February, Katja Kipping, a left-wing member of the German parliament, finally got a chance to see the free-trade deal that the U. and European Union hope to finish by the end of this year. She would only get two hours to skim through the complex legal document, which is hundreds of pages long.

She would have to surrender her jacket, purse, phone and other electronics before entering the sealed-off reading room at the German Economy Ministry. And she would not be allowed to tell anyone what she would find inside the agreement.

“We ask if it’s possible to publish what we have agreed, and they say, ‘No! In trying to strengthen political and economic ties across the Atlantic, the centerpiece of Obama’s trade agenda seems to be doing the opposite.

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