EU open to discussing cars, not farming in US trade talks
The European Union is willing to discuss car tariffs but will not remove duties on farm products in trade talks with the United States, its trade chief said on Friday, setting it on a possible collision course with Washington.
The European Commission, which coordinates trade policy for the 28 member European Union, published two negotiating mandates on Friday, which were notable more for what they left out than for what they included.
The EU proposal on tariffs falls far short of the wide-ranging wish-list, including comprehensive agricultural market access, set out by U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration a week ago.
“There is a lot that is not covered. We are not proposing any negotiations with the U.S. to reduce or eliminate (duties) on agricultural products,” EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told a news conference.
“That area was left outside, like many other topics where it would be difficult to reach an agreement,” she continued, adding that the EU was not planning to restart the broad negotiations dubbed TTIP, which drew thousands to streets in Europe in protest.
Last week’s 17-page list of U.S. objectives began by saying that the United States wanted to reduce its trade deficit with the European Union - which was 119.6 billion euros ($136 billion) in 2017, according to EU statistics office Eurostat, almost a third of which was related to cars and car parts.
The section of the U.S. document on agriculture includes a reference to trade commitments for products developed through biotechnologies, which could include hormone-treated beef banned in Europe and GM crops currently given to EU livestock, but not directly eaten by people.
EU READY TO PUT CARS ON TABLE