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US-EU trade talks halt most likely option: French minister

38213585 - 29_04_2016 - ICOAST-FRANCE-ECONOMY-BUSINESS-LABOUR-EMPLOYMENT-DIPLOMACY.jpg
A halt to trade talks between the European Union and the United States is now likely, French Trade Minister Matthias Fekl said on Tuesday.

[PARIS] A halt to trade talks between the European Union and the United States is now likely, French Trade Minister Matthias Fekl said on Tuesday.

Negotiators have been battling to reach a deal before President Barack Obama leaves office in January but points of contention remain, ranging from food safety standards to support for small business.

France has been particularly vocal about what it sees as a lack of movement on the US side.

"Given the approach being taken by the United States today, (a halt) is the most likely option," Mr Fekl said on Europe 1 radio.

Mr Fekl said in April that the talks should be scrapped in the absence of further progress.

His intervention comes a day after Greenpeace called for the talks to stop, citing concerns a deal would compromise food safety. To support its case it published confidential documents it said showed entrenched positions on the two sides.

The environmentalist pressure group argues that the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would hand too much power to big business at the expense of consumers and national governments.

REUTERS