Top auto executives rally to support EU-US trade agreement image

Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche, Volkswagen AG chief Martin Winterkorn and other top officials of Germany’s car industry are set to gather today in Berlin in support for a transatlantic free trade deal that has been threatened lately.

Politicians in the European Union and the United States have been hard at work to sign a deal known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), designed to lift all major trade and non-tariff barriers between the two regions. While auto executives have decided to endorse the agreement, powerful labor leaders have been unimpressed. “We will not accept a softening of standards for environmental and consumer protection or a hollowing out of worker rights and the right to co-determination,” commented trade union leader Detlef Wetzel of the powerful IG Metall. The statement was also jointly signed by German union representatives of Daimler, BMW, Ford, Opel and Volkswagen AG’s subsidiaries VW, Porsche and Audi.

The pact has also been scuttled by large opposition coming from outside the auto industry, such as a variety of advocacy groups and globalization opponents that oppose almost anything – from corporate interests to genetically modified foods. The US and EU have been negotiating the conclusion of the TTIP since July 2013 – believing it would support economical growth, liberalize markets and put an end to the shaggy economic recovery that has bewildered much of Europe. The next round of negotiations – the eighth – is scheduled next Monday in Brussels and if signed, the pact might become the largest bilateral free trade deal in history – with the two economies combined accounting for around 50 percent of the globe’s production of goods and services.

Via Automotive News Europe