Germany's Merkel: Need Trade Partnership with U.S. for Economic Strength
By Andrea Thomas
ERFURT, Germany--German Chancellor Angela Merkel Saturday expressed strong support for a trans-Atlantic free-trade agreement between the U.S. and the European Union, arguing it will help to boost Germany's export strength.
"Despite all difficulties...the chances offered by such a trade accord are much bigger than the risks," Ms. Merkel said at a news conference following a meeting of her Christian Democratic Union's federal board.
"It will pay off to do our utmost for creating a big trade zone with fewer barriers. If we want to be strong economically, we need such trade partnerships."
The planned Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, known as TTIP, has come under fire as critics fear it focuses too much on economic interests at the expense of data security, environmental standards and consumer protection.
Companies, such as Germany'sSiemens AG, however, argue it is a win-win situation because it would help reindustrialize the U.S. and help rebuild Europe's competitiveness.
Germany is the world's third-largest exporter of goods.
The next round of talks between the U.S. and the EU is set for March.
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