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EU and US emerge from Trump-era trade wars to work with WTO again

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Former US president Donald Trump. Photo: Timothy D Easley/AP

Former US president Donald Trump. Photo: Timothy D Easley/AP

Former US president Donald Trump. Photo: Timothy D Easley/AP

The US and EU have “grounded and addressed the two biggest trade irritants” lingering from the Trump administration and are now focused on strengthening the multilateral trading system, the EU’s trade chief said.

In October, the US and EU agreed to pause tariffs on more than $10bn (€8.7bn) worth of transatlantic goods as “part of a broader reset” following four tumultuous years under former President Donald Trump, EU Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said in an interview yesterday at a Financial Times conference.

A major component of the truce allows the EU to export 3.3 million tonnes of steel to the US without a 25pc Trump-era tariff, but any exports above that quota will be charged the duty.

“For us, the final solution is a complete lifting of those tariffs,” Mr Dombrovskis said. “We see it as an interim step in the right direction – it’s a two-year arrangement, and in those two years, we’ll be working on the global steel aluminum arrangement.” Both share the goal of decarbonising the industries and will use the time to discuss how to align approaches, he said.

The US and EU will work together to ensure the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has a successful ministerial conference later this month that produces concrete outcomes on fishery subsidies and trade and health, he said. While the EU is “willing to look” at the arguments in favour of a waiver to WTO intellectual-property rules for vaccines, European policy makers would prefer a more “holistic approach” that deters export restrictions and expands vaccine access via trade facilitation and compulsory licensing.

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