EU to seek reset in trade talks with US

Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan will meet his US counterpart Robert Lighthizer in mid-January

The EU will seek a reset of EU-US trade relations on a number of contentious issues, Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan, was quoted as saying. He will meet his US counterpart, Robert Lighthizer, for the first time next month after talking to him just before Christmas. The Trump administration imposed tariffs on European steel and aluminum in mid-2018. It has done the same to $7.5bn worth of EU products over a dispute about subsidies for Airbus, and is threatening action against France over a digital services tax.

“We agreed to meet in Washington in mid-January to discuss the long list of issues causing strain in the relationship between the EU and the US. There is no point in getting into the details of resolving trade irritants unless we agree a line on a common trade agenda,” Hogan said. “I will be seeking a reset of the EU/US trade relationship on issues like tariffs on steel and aluminum and the threat of US tariffs in response to a digital tax in Europe.”

The two sides are in theory trying to forge a deal to remove overall import duties, but are stuck over farm products, which Washington says must be included and Brussels says cannot feature. They are also at odds over Washington’s paralysis of the World Trade Organization’s judicial arm, a vital part of the global trading system.

The Commission has said the bloc will act as one over the planned US tariffs on French goods, and that a threat this month to increase EU-wide tariffs in relation to the Airbus dispute would make a settlement more difficult to achieve.

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