The EU is Moving Too Slowly in Trade Talks
- President Trump’s patience is not unlimited, and this is not a 5 year process.
Wednesday, the US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross says the European Union is moving too slowly in trade talks and is warning that President Donald Trump’s patience with the Europeans may soon run out.
President Trump and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker agreed in July to start talks intended to achieve “Zero tariffs” and “Zero subsidies” on non-automotive industrial goods, in an effort to avert a possible trade war.
Secretary Ross told reporters in Brussels Wednesday that “we really need tangible progress. The President’s patience is not unlimited.”
He said: “This is not meant to be a 5 year project. This is meant to be something that was to move quickly and in a cooperative fashion.”
Secretary Ross’s remarks came a day after talks with EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom.
The EU introduced “re-balancing” tariffs on about $3.4-B of US steel, agricultural and other products.
President Trump has held out the threat of slapping auto tariffs on European cars should the trade talks fail to progress quickly.
Ms. Malmstrom described her meeting with Secretary Ross Tuesday as “a general stock-taking exercise.” She said the Commission has repeatedly asked its US counterparts to start a “scoping exercise on a limited agreement focused on industrial goods on tariffs. So far, the US has not shown any big interest there, so the ball is in their court.”
Ms. Malmstrom said she would also need to request a mandate from EU member states before any trade negotiations could get underway.
Secretary Ross described her remarks as “very discouraging.”
“It implies that the US has been the 1 that is slowing things down. That is simply inaccurate,” he said.
Ms. Malmstrom has said future trade talks could lead to a “limited trade agreement focused on tariffs on goods only.”
She has warned that the EU would break off any negotiations if the US imposes auto tariffs.
Stay tuned, expect that the EU will align.
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