TTIP

Negotiations between the European Union and the US over Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement will probably stop, the French trade minister has said.

Matthias Fekl said that unless the US commits more to the huge trade deal, the "most likely option" would be to pause talks.

Mr Fekl is well known to be of the opinion that the US is getting far more from this deal than the EU. He is also concerned about the impact on France itself, highlighting the lack of safeguarding for its agriculture sector and a lack of opportunities for its small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to gain better access in the US.

In an interview with French radio, the French minister said: "It is an agreement which, as it would be today, would be a bad deal."

The European Commission is hoping to sign the deal sometime before the end of the year, to avoid any issues that could be raised by the US presidential election, which takes place in November. In September last year, Matthias Fekl claimed France was considering all of its options, including stopping talks indefinitely.

The Centre for Economic Policy Research claims TTIP could boost the EU economy by €119 billion (£94bn) a year, and the US economy by €95bn.

Critics, of which there are many, say the agreement would only favour larger businesses and result in weaker regulation.