U.S. President Barack Obama says he will do whatever he can to advance a controversial trade deal with the European Union in his last nine months in office. But, as Ivor Bennett reports, there's a growing swell of populist concerns about the impact on jobs, consumer protections and the environment.
Day two of the Merkel-Obama double act. But still the same routine. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT, BARACK OBAMA, SAYING: "So this is another chance to tell everyone to come here and buy 'Made in America'." America is the partner country at this year's Hanover Messe trade fair. as both sides push to complete the T-TIP trade deal between the US and Europe. Supporters say it will boost both economies by 100 billion dollars. But Merkel knows not everyone is convinced. Not least by the quality of goods that'll come their way. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GERMAN CHANCELLOR, ANGELA MERKEL, SAYING: "And now I learned 'the proof of the pudding is in the eating,' let's start." Jobs and consumer protection are other concerns. A recent survey showed support for the deal was at less than 20 percent in both Germany and the US. Down from above 50 percent two years ago. But it's not just the public who are frustrated. Obama's assertions didn't do much for Germany's Economy Minister. Sigmar Gabriel questioned last week whether Washington even wanted a deal such is the sluggishness of negotiations. While France's trade minister threatened to halt talks completely over the lack of progress. SOUNDBITE (English) CHARLES STANLEY, CHIEF ECONOMIST, JEREMY BATSTONE-CARR, SAYING: "These are good deals are the US and maybe, not quite such good deals for the countries on the other side of the negotiations. So of course negotiation has to be protracted in order to ensure that both sides achieve fairness." Talks are due to resume this week. But time is running out for Obama. With just 9 months left of his presidency, a virtual reality may be the closest he'll get.