Angela Merkel: You Could See TTIP As A Bilateral Trade Agreement Between US And EU

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At a joint press conference with President Trump at the White House, German Chancellor Angela Merkel weighed in on the still-possible Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the U.S. and European Union.

QUESTION (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Thank you.

Madame Chancellor, a question addressed to you. Today, we're talking about trade. The president in the past always said that he doesn't like multilateral trade agreements, but prefers bilateral trade agreements. Do you think from the E.U.'s point of view TTIP is a bilateral agreement with Washington on one said, the E.U. on the other side? Is the problem (ph) that America -- the president of the United States and the Europeans have a basically different understanding of what the E.U. is all about? That's my question addressed to you...

GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Well, I believe that the president has clearly set out his philosophy as to what trade agreements have to bring about for the American side as well. I personally don't think that Germany needs to negotiate and not the European Union. We've devolved (ph) our confidences to the European Union. So the European Union, or rather the commission, negotiates on behalf of the member states, so that's not going to prevent us from concluding agreements (inaudible). Indeed, this would be then -- qualify as a bilateral agreement between the E.U. and the United States if we had it.

But the question is will it be of benefit to both countries or not? And let me be very honest, very candid, free trade agreement with the United States of America has not always been all that popular in Germany either. There have been less demonstrations against this free trade agreement in the United States than in Europe and also in Germany. So I am very glad to note that apparently, the sort of perspective on that has changed a little bit at least in Germany, too.

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