Paul Gordon Collier
Germans Balk at EU-US Free Trade Deal
The leading exporter in Europe, Germany, has sent overtures out recently that brings into doubt the possibility of a free trade agreement happening between the United States and Europe. Angela Merkel, the Prime Minister, was once quoted as saying she wished for “for nothing more than a free-trade agreement between the USA and the EU.”
The new deal could potentially create an 800 million people strong market for Europe and the US, including Germany. Yet, growing dissent within Germany to the deal is calling into question whether the deal will take place.
One particular issue that has captured the German public is the issue of ‘chlorine washing’of chickens. The US Poultry Industry practices this technique to kill any potential bacteria that could harm consumers.
The term used by opponents to this technique, “Chlorhuehnchen” (chlorine chicken) has now become a popular meme in Germany. This charge is being led by Germany’s Green Party, which is opposed to the free trade deal for a number of other issues as well. The fact that they have found an issue that resonates with Germans may be more significant than the actual issue itself.
Other opponents to the deal, both in Europe and America, cite concerns of sovereignty and greater interdependence on economic systems that place a nation in a vulnerable, dependence position on other economic systems.