French prez Hollande could nix TTIP if agriculture threatened

epa05281636 French President Francois Hollande delivers a speech during a reception at the Elysee Palace to launch the exhibition 'Football de Legendes, une Histoire Europeenne' in Paris, France, 28 April 2016. The exhibition 'Football de Legendes, une Histoire Europeenne' (Football of Legends, a European Story) will run from 09 May to 10 of July outside the Paris town hall.  EPA/YOAN VALAT / POOL MAXPPP OUT


Paris / AFP

France will reject the ambitious TTIP transatlantic trade pact if it endangers the future of French agriculture, President Francois Hollande warned on Sunday.
“We in France have to defend a certain number of principles” and be “extremely vigilant as it is the future of agriculture which could be at stake,” Hollande’s office said.
French politicians have queued up in recent days to express reservations about the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) pact, while public support for the pact has also noticeably been sagging in neighbouring EU powerhouse
Hollande said France was watching the TTIP proposals take shape “but will say no to any conclusion which would put our agriculture in difficulty.”
He added that France wanted to see trade based on principles “including environmental ones,” while stressing the importance of certain products retaining protected designation of origin status, such as cheeses and champagne.
Hundreds of products across the European Union enjoy such status within an EU legal framework. Hollande weighed into the debate after French PM Manuel Valls warned that any deal “will not succeed if it does not guarantee that the (quality) standards we have in France for our citizens’ health and environment will be maintained.”
France’s minister of state for foreign trade Matthias Fekl is also hawkish on the outcome.
Asked if a deal may be reached before the end of US President Barack Obama’s term in January, Fekl, French envoy to the TTIP talks, said last week: “No, I don’t think so. The likelihood, or risk, of reaching any accord is fading.”
Also last week, French Finance Minister Emmanuel Macron said “there is no urgency” to sign a deal which France has to be sure is “complete, ambitious and which does not disown any of our
TTIP aims to topple regulatory and tariff barriers to trade and investment between the United States and Europe, open up the EU services sector and better European access to US government procurement projects.

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