France says no to TTIP 'at this stage'

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Paris, May 3 (IANS) French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday said he was "at this stage" opposed to the free trade accord between the European Union and the US -- the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) -- unless rules to protect domestic businesses were respected.

"At this stage of negotiations, France says no to TTIP because we are not for free trade without rules," Xinhua quoted Hollande as saying.

"We will never accept questioning the essential principles for our agriculture, reciprocity in access to public markets," he added.

Earlier on Tuesday, French Trade Minister Matthias Fekl said a collapse of the trade talks was "now likely".

"Given the approach being taken by the US today, it is the most likely option," Fekl told the local broadcaster Europe 1.

In a recent interview, Fekl said he would block TTIP negotiations if there was no progress on improving transparency, guaranteeing food safety and facilitating access of European small and medium-sized companies to US markets.​

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