Decision on auto tariffs coming soon: Trump
Early signs of an intense US-EU trade conflict emerged this month, with both sides engaging in dialogue in an attempt to address certain issues..
EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom and Robert Lighthizer, US Trade Representative, phoned last Thursday to summarize issues of concern to both sides, a source told CNBC on Wednesday. According to him, there was no breakthrough, but the conversation is ongoing, the parties are trying to find a solution based on negotiations..
In an email to CNBC, the European Commission confirmed a phone call saying they had discussed Airbus and Boeing cases with the World Trade Organization (WTO). «Commissioner Malmström reaffirms EU willingness to find a negotiated solution», – said a spokesman for the European Commission on Thursday morning.
The phone call marked the first conversation between the two sides after the US announced $ 7.5 billion in trade duties on European goods in early October. The US complained more than a decade ago that European countries were giving unfair subsidies to Airbus, damaging its US rival Boeing. The WTO recently ruled in Washington’s favor, which served as a springboard for the introduction of tariffs on EU goods..
The EU has filed a similar complaint with the WTO, alleging that the US was illegally subsidizing Boeing. However, the WTO has yet to rule on this case, which could happen in the first half of 2020. In this context, the EU asked the US to discuss both cases in order to find a solution that would avoid mutual trade duties altogether. But the US has moved forward with new conditions.
The phone call last week came at a time when the US administration is deciding whether to introduce additional tariffs for European automakers. US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told the Financial Times last week that new talks with Europe could offer an alternative next month..
President Donald Trump has argued that some imported vehicles and auto parts from Europe pose a national security threat to the United States, and Washington should impose higher tariffs on these products..
Then Malmstrom said: «We completely reject the notion that the export of our cars is a threat to national security. EU ready to negotiate a limited trade agreement (including) cars, but not illegal trade under the WTO».
Trade relations between the US and the EU have become strained since Trump came to power and expressed his opposition to multilateral deals. Last year, he announced the introduction of duties on steel and aluminum from Europe. A few months later, the EU responded by imposing tariffs on US goods in the amount of € 2.8 billion.