President Barack Obama says the United States
and the European Union
) need to press ahead with the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) despite widespread opposition.
“Angela and I agree that the United States
and the European
Union need to keep moving forward with the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations,” Obama said Sunday after meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Speaking in a joint press conference with Merkel in the German city of Hannover, Obama added that the controversial trade pact’s benefits for the US economy were “indisputable.”
Obama is in Germany to take part in the Hannover Messe, the world’s largest industrial technology trade fair, to promote the TTIP which he hopes to finalize before leaving office in January.
Supporters of the proposed pact say it will make it easier for companies on both sides of the Atlantic to do business and will give a boost to the global economy at a time of economic uncertainty.
However, there is strong opposition to TTIP, particularly in Germany, with critics arguing it will take away many consumer and environmental protections.
Obama’s visit comes against the backdrop of anti-TTIP protests in Hannover on Saturday, where according to police, some 35,000 people took to the streets, carrying placards that said, “Yes We Can — Stop TTIP!”
The renewed call for the TTIP comes at a time when the UK, a major US ally, is reviewing its EU membership and may exit the 28-member bloc following a referendum on June 23.
Earlier, Obama said that leaving the EU, or the so-called Brexit, would send the UK to the “back of the queue” of trading with the US.
“It could be five years from now, 10 years from now before we’re actually able to get something done,” Obama told the BBC in an interview on Sunday.