May 7, 2015 / 10:07 AM / in 5 years

German support for U.S-EU trade deal drops on food, safety worries: poll

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Support among Germans for a Europe-U.S. free trade deal has fallen sharply over the past year with many in Europe’s biggest economy worrying about its impact on food standards, auto safety and the environment, a new opinion poll released on Thursday showed.

German and European Union (EU) flags flutter outside the new Interior Ministry building in Berlin April 26, 2015. REUTERS/Rainer Jensen/Pool - RTX1ACMU

The Pew Research Center poll showed only 41 percent of Germans think the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a good thing, compared to 50 percent of Americans. While U.S. opinion was little changed over the last year, German support fell 14 percentage points, from 55 percent a year earlier.

The findings show the challenges European officials face in convincing citizens of the merits of the pact, which some experts say could generate $100 billion a year in additional economic output on both sides of the Atlantic.

More than a third of Germans, or 36 percent, think TTIP would be bad for their country, compared to 21 percent of Americans.

Six in 10 skeptics in Germany said they worried the deal would lower local food, environmental and auto safety

standards. Only 18 percent named controversial rules allowing firms to take cross-border legal action against governments as their top concern.

Half the American skeptics were most worried about the deal hurting jobs and wages, a concern that registered less with Germans.

The findings on TTIP were part of a broader poll on American and German attitudes toward each other, released on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe.

The U.S. interviews were conducted February 26 to March 1, among a national sample of 1,003 adults, with a margin of sampling error of +/- 3.7 percentage points.

The German interviews were conducted February 24-25, among a national sample of 963 adults. The margin of sampling error was +/- 4.7 percentage points.

Reporting by Krista Hughes; Editing by Richard Chang

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