Germany’s economy minister said on Monday this week that failure to agree to a free trade deal with the United States could lead to a loss of influence for Europe. Sigmar Gabriel urged business leaders to promote the benefits of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), as politicians on both sides of the Atlantic look to draft a deal before U.S. President Barack Obama leaves office in January 2017.

“What I regret in the German debate is that so much is said about ‘chlorine chickens’ and too little about the geopolitical significance of this accord,” he said, referring to anti-TTIP campaigners’ disparaging talk of U.S. poultry treated with chlorine rather than antibiotics, as happens in Europe.

If TTIP were to fail, “Germany and Europe could come under pressure through developments in other parts of the world,” said Gabriel. Supporters say creating a joint market of 800 million people could generate $100 billion a year in economic growth.  Gabriel, head of the Social Democrats, who are partners in Conservative Angela Merkel’s coalition.