US and Europe fight to make TTIP case amidst growing opposition

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Policymakers in the US and Europe are making efforts to restore the momentum behind the TTIP trade deal in the face of growing opposition.

Leaders in the US and Europe are working to rally support for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) to prevent mounting opposition to the deal from scuppering its progress.

The free trade agreement is designed to strengthen commercial ties between the two regions, but politicians and lobbyists on both sides of the Atlantic are proving increasingly sceptical about its implications, including the potential it holds to damage local competition or hand power to large corporations.

Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, recently travelled to Paris to speak to a convention of French mayors in an attempt to rebuild momentum behind the deal, offering assurances that the agreement would not damage their interests.

Mr Juncker said: "I believe that TTIP negotiations can yield a deal that will profit the European economy, our small and medium enterprises and our farmers, without harming standards."

Although the British government remains a high-profile support of TTIP, German socialists have been outspoken in their criticism of the proposed plan, as has the French government and its president Francois Hollande, due to concerns it could damage the farming sector and reduce protections for French wines, cheeses and meats.

Speaking at a recent public event, Mr Hollande said: "There can be no question of sacrificing our interests to get a deal. Geographical indications contribute to preserving agricultural quality in our country. They help keep our farming activity on our land."

A senior US official told the Financial Times that the American government is aware of the "mixed signals" coming from Europe in recent weeks, and expressed hope that this will be addressed prior to the EU leaders' summit planned for later this month.

However, even in the US, Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has already voiced opposition to the deal, while his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton is facing pressure to do likewise.