Under the slogan “For a fair world trade”, the demonstrators took to streets in Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Cologne, Leipzig, Munich and Stuttgart.
Organizers estimated that 320,000 people would participate the rallies, while the police said the real turnout was smaller.
Waving banners reading “STOP TTIP”, “STOP CETA”, protesters expressed their worries about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a free trade pact between the United States and the European Union (EU), and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), a deal between the EU and Canada.
Opponents feared that the deals would lower consumer and environment protection standards in Europe, and lead to job losses.
Meanwhile, the business believed free trade deals across the Atlantic would benefit economies on both sides of the ocean as they could reduce red tape and lower transaction costs.
“Most of the objections were unjustified from the outset. We continue to see great opportunities offered by the creation of the largest free trade area in the world for our country,” said Anton F. Boerner, head of German exporters’ association BGA, referring to the TTIP agreement which was scheduled to start a new round of negotiations in October.
The CETA agreement was reached in 2014, and set to be signed next month.
A recent survey found that about 28 percent of Germans doubted the two agreements’ benefits. 52 percent believed they would weaken standards and result in the import of defective products.
Source: Xinhua/News Ghana