Washington, DC – The prospects of a free trade agreement that would generate $100 billion a year in economic growth for both the US and the European Union have stalled over Germany’s vocal concerns about the proposed pact’s perceived threats to food and the environment.
A transatlantic pact would open the European market to a broad range of US exports including agricultural products and create a market of 800 million people and allow EU members, particularly Germany, sell more of their luxury cars, precision machinery, transportation equipment and chemicals in the US.
Germany’s concerns focus on the standard US technique of disinfecting poultry with chlorine, which a majority of Germans recently surveyed believe is a danger to human health despite its successful use in the US to kill bacteria.
In the European Union, antibiotics are used with Brussels asserting that there will be no change in policy on the issue even should a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, become a reality.
Despite a flood of negative press, there are some in Germany who support the TTIP and counter the ‘conventional wisdom’ on the “chlorine chicken” issue.
“It is easier to win an argument with fear than with facts,” said one German businessman in the chemical industry, who supports the TTIP. “Chlorine chicken…genetically modified foods…these are out of the agreement, but it is hard to get the message across.”