EU plans to end US tariff battle with Biden

EU plans to end US tariff battle with Biden

President Joe Biden speaks about the May Jobs Report on June 4, 2021, at the Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, Convention Center.

Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images

LONDON – The European Union wants the United States to commit to ending its tariffs on planes next week, according to a draft statement seen by CNBC, as the two sides seek to put transatlantic relations back on track. rails.

The EU also hopes that the President Joe biden, which is due to be held in Brussels for a summit early next week, will pledge to end tariffs on steel and aluminum by December of this year, according to the EU document.

The European Council, the host institution of the summit, is responsible for preparing the joint declaration that the leaders will seek to give the green light. Bloomberg first reported the news.

An EU official, who did not want to be named due to the sensitive nature of the matter, told CNBC that the European Union is seeking to “push” the United States to agree on a relaxation of trade tariffs that emerged during the Donald trump presidency.

However, so far there is “no clear sign” that the US will go along with what the EU wants, the same official added. The U.S. administration was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC on Wednesday morning.

The EU-US relationship hit rock bottom under the previous US administration, with Trump often blaming Europe for being worse than China with its business practices.

Trump imposed tariffs worth $ 7.5 billion on European products after the World Trade Organization ruled that the EU had given unfair subsidies to Airbus. Shortly thereafter, the EU also imposed duties of $ 4 billion on US goods following another WTO ruling that the US had also granted illegal aid to Boeing. The conflict first arose in 2004.

The summit will put a lot of emphasis on “this relationship can still work”.

Nicolas Frédéric Poitiers

researcher, Bruegel

Separately, the Trump presidency decided in 2018 to impose a 25% tariff on European steel and a 10% tariff on European aluminum for national security reasons, which the EU is doing. is vehemently opposed and retaliated. A first round of tariffs worth € 2.8 billion ($ 3.4 billion) has been implemented by the EU and another round of € 3.6 billion was due to start this month.

However, the EU decided to suspend these metal-related duties last month as a sign of good faith to boost negotiations.

A “symbolic” meeting

Next week’s summit is the first EU-US high-level meeting since 2014.

“The commitment has a lot of symbolic value,” Niclas Frederic Poitiers, researcher at Brussels think tank Bruegel, told CNBC last week.

“The summit will put a lot of emphasis on ‘this relationship can still work’,” he added.

The tone between European and American officials has changed since Biden’s election in 2020, with European leaders not hesitating to express their satisfaction with the election outcome.

However, experts say the jury is still out on what joint cooperation there will be between the Biden administration and the EU.

“There is no doubt that President Biden is determined to work with American partners in Europe, but not at any cost,” Leslie Vinjamuri, director of the United States and the Americas program at Chatham House, told CNBC.

“President Biden has a very clear net result and that result is that these policies have to work for Americans. It is also pretty clear that any common policy has to adapt to the national political climate, and in particular when it comes to trade. , technology and China, ”she added.

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