President Donald Trump now wants to transform the billion-dollar trade ties between the United States (USA) and the European Union (EU), which arouses the fear of a new tariff war at a time when the global economy slows down and the President aspires to reelection.
Trump, who recently signed a Phase 1 trade agreement to disrupt the harsh trade fight with China, has described the EU’s stance on trade as “worse than Beijing’s” and has threatened to impose tariffs on its cars and others products.
“Europe has been treating us very, very badly,” he said Monday 10 before the governors gathered at the White House.RELATED
“They have barriers that are incredible,” added the president who wants European countries to open their markets to American products, especially agricultural products. He also regretted the “huge deficit” with Brussels “in the last 10 or 12 years.”
European authorities say they are willing to work with Trump to deal with problems in the relationship, but warn they will retaliate against any US effort to punish the commercial bloc.
“In the economic field, we are matched. And we will defend ourselves, ”said Norbert Roettgen, a German conservative legislator, after holding meetings with representatives of the White House and the State Department. “We will respond to US tariffs and we know how to structure them to be effective,” he said.
On Friday, the 7th, two days after Trump was acquitted in a political trial by the Senate, the US ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland, said he was going to be removed from his post, which detracted even more visibility from any future negotiations . Sondland had testified during the investigation in the House of Representatives in Washington.
The short-term result may be a “mini-agreement” like the one in Phase One signed with Beijing last month, which does not solve the fundamental problems but will allow both parties to declare a truce, according to trade experts.
“This cannot continue”
The US, the world’s largest importer, and the 27-member EU bloc have collided with subsidies to airlines, agricultural trade barriers and union plans to tax large US digital companies, among other issues.
The EU was the main US export market in 2018, before the United Kingdom left the block, led by aerospace products and computers. After reaching a free trade agreement with Europe, the Trump administration focuses on reducing its growing deficit in trade in goods, which reached a record US $ 178 billion in 2019.
“That cannot continue,” said US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer last December.
Two months ago, the appeal body of the World Trade Organization, which acts as the supreme court for international trade disputes, was paralyzed after the US repeatedly blocked the appointment of new judges.
The White House and Brussels are essentially without a referee, at a time when EU representatives say Trump seems strengthened by his acquittal of political judgment and has intensified his polarization speech.
“We have allies. We have enemies Sometimes allies are enemies, but we don’t know it, ”Trump said at a breakfast in Washington last week, in comments that made the European representatives nervous.
Trump and the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, had announced at the end of January, after a meeting in Davos (Switzerland), their desire to relaunch the transatlantic trade agreement and to conclude an agreement in the coming weeks.
But for the moment, negotiations have not been successful and relations remain tense, which is reflected in the threats of the White House tenant with taxing European car imports, which would particularly impact German manufacturers.
Last January, he warned that he would “think very seriously” about this possibility if discussions of a transatlantic trade agreement did not prosper.
On Monday 10, he explained at the meeting with the governors that he had not driven the talks with Europe because he was focused on reaching an agreement with China, Japan and South Korea. “I didn’t want to do everything at the same time,” he said.
Perhaps the trip planned in a short time by the German Von der Leyen to Washington, to try to get a kind of “political declaration”, such as that of July 2018 between Trump and the then president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, may be A good opportunity to channel the dialogue.
(AFP and Reuters)