22:20 GMT27 January 2020
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    Austria and France are expected to make a joint proposal to restart talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal between Brussels and Washington later on Friday, Austrian Vice Chancellor Reinhold Mitterlehner said.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — In recent months the agreement has been repeatedly criticized by officials from Germany, France, Austria and Belgium, because of the United States' unwillingness to make concessions in the ongoing talks. German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said in August that the agreement had collapsed.

    "French Minister of State for Foreign Trade Matthias Fekl and I will jointly support restart of negotiations of a free trade zone with the United States. The talks should start again after the US presidential elections," Mitterlehner told Die Welt newspaper, adding that the statement would be made later on Friday at an informal meeting of EU trade ministers.

    He added that the TTIP talks had resulted in growth of mistrust and gave an impression that European legal norms and standards were violated.

    "The negotiations on the Transatlantic agreement on free trade with the United States led to mistrust. An impression that European legal norms were ignored and standards undermined had prevailed at the talks. But also there is a common fear of increasing international competition," the vice-chancellor said.

    The TTIP seeks to establish a free trade zone between the United States and Europe. The US government started discussions on the draft deal with the European Union in 2013. The details of TTIP, including specific rules of market access, have not been released to the public.

    The TTIP agreement has drawn severe criticism for the lack of transparency in the negotiations as well as for the tremendous power it would potentially give to international corporations.

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    talks, trade, TTIP, France, Austria
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