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    Opponents of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) protest outside the headquarters of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Berlin, Germany, March 14, 2016

    TTIP Divides Europe, Prevents Cooperation With Russia - German Lawmaker

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    The proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) free trade deal between the United States and the European Union prevents the bloc from cooperating with Russia, a German lawmaker with the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) said Monday.

    BERLIN (Sputnik) AfD gained representation in regional parliaments in the western states of Baden-Wuerttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate and the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt after elections held on Sunday. European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said last week Brussels and Washington were close to concluding TTIP.

    "We are critically disposed against the TTIP including because it is a new division of Europe. Geo-strategically, we should seek to cooperate with Russia, but TTIP again divides Europe along the lines of the Cold War," AfD deputy chair Alexander Gauland said at a press conference.

    Co-leader Frauke Petry argued in favor of amending the controversial trade pact, saying "this agreement does not mention free trade."

    Negotiations on the agreement have been ongoing since 2013. The 12th round of US-EU talks was held late last month with the aim of drafting the full text of the agreement before the end of the year.

    The TTIP deal drew criticism from the public for the lack of transparency in its negotiations and the power it would give to international corporations. It has also been slammed for bypassing the framework of the World Trade Organization and excluding BRICS countries.

    The pact is unlikely to be fully agreed on before US President Barack Obama leaves office on January 20, 2017.

    AfD has been campaigning on a fiercely anti-immigrant platform ahead of its 12-24 percent showing in three federal states. Several mainstream parties bowed out of TV debates featuring the populist euroskeptic party and declined to enter into a ruling coalition with the AfD.

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    TTIP, European Union, United States, Russia
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