German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday criticized plans by US President-elect Donald Trump to ditch a trans-Pacific trade deal, warning that future agreements will likely be worse.
With a planned US-EU mega-deal called TTIP also looking doomed, Merkel predicted that in future “there will be more trade agreements, and they won’t have the standard which this agreement and the mooted TTIP deal have”.
“I tell you quite honestly, I am not happy that the trans-Pacific agreement will now probably not become a reality,” said Merkel.
“I don’t know who will benefit from that, and today I want to refrain from making any predictions.”
In the past, Merkel argued, trade deals were just about cutting duties but failed to address global issues such as environmental standards, sustainable production methods and preventing child labor.
“Because we listened to this criticism, today there are trade deals that have a completely new quality, and CETA is the first that has this new quality,” said Merkel, referring to an EU-Canada deal signed last month.
“And a free trade agreement with the United States would have only been possible if it had the same standard of quality,” the chancellor told the German parliament.
She did not mention by name Trump, who has pledged he will not ratify TPP, the agreement arduously negotiated under President Barack Obama with 11 other Pacific economies and signed last February.
During a Berlin visit by Obama last week, Merkel conceded that TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, “will not be concluded now”, adding hopefully that “I am sure that one day we can come back to it”.