France: US-EU trade deal blocked, probably doomed

PARIS – France’s trade minister says a huge free trade deal between the U.S. and Europe is probably doomed, and France would reject the current version because it’s too friendly to U.S. business.

Matthias Fekl told Europe-1 radio Tuesday that negotiations “are totally blocked” and a halt to talks “is the most probable option.” He insisted on better farming and environmental protections, and said “in its current state, France cannot sign it.”

He spoke amid signs of trouble over the creation of a Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a U.S.-EU free trade zone encompassing half the world economy. Major disagreements remain after a 13th round of talks last week, and the U.S. election campaign is complicating negotiations.

Fekl argued that “Europe is giving a lot … but receiving very little in return.”