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Merkel calls for new EU-US trade deal

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
Merkel calls for new EU-US trade deal
An 'Origin: Germany' sign on a package. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Jens Kalaene

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Wednesday for a sweeping new free trade deal between the EU and the United States, after previous efforts faltered amid mass protests and transatlantic tensions.

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Against the backdrop of revived ties with Washington since President Joe Biden took office, Merkel said that both sides stood to benefit from such a pact.

READ ALSO: Merkel invites Biden to Germany 'as soon as pandemic allows'

"I've always advocated a trade agreement between the US and the EU," she told a foreign policy congress, noting that the 27-member bloc had hammered out such agreements with regions around the world.

Merkel, who will leave office after a general election in September, said it would be "very, very sensible" to use the template of the EU-Canada deal which cut tariffs and promotes exports to deepen economic relations with the United States.

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"There is much to do for transatlantic cooperation in a turbulent world which needs partnerships," she said.

"That's why I'm pleased that we have new possibilities with the new (Biden) administration which the German government would like to seize."

Years-long talks on an ambitious Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) stalled following widespread protests in Germany, France and Austria over fears it would undermine EU standards on food and health.

They collapsed for good under US President Donald Trump who took a confrontational approach toward the EU on trade matters.

Biden has expressed a keen interest in restoring transatlantic relations including trade cooperation, even as he promotes a "Buy American" message European officials have seen as protectionist.

READ ALSO: What could Joe Biden as US president mean for Germany?

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