The plans of the European Union for trade negotiations with the United States are far from what is required, and the idea of postponing official negotiations will not work, the U.S. ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland noted, Reuters reported.
The European Commission, which negotiates trade deals on behalf of the 28 EU countries, has presented two negotiating mandates to governments for approval, one on reducing tariffs on industrial goods, the other on making it easier for companies to clear their products for sale on both sides of the Atlantic.
“The mandate that is being circulated falls far short of what even (Commission) President Juncker and President Trump discussed in July in Washington. The idea was to have a wide-ranging conversation about all aspects of our relationship,” Gordon Sondland told an AmCham business conference in Brussels.
The trade confrontation between the EU and the USA was settled after the meeting of Trump and Juncker in July last year, when Trump agreed to postpone the imposition of import tariffs on cars from the EU while the parties are working to improve economic ties.
However, EU governments have failed so far to agree on launching formal trade talks, Germany pressing for a quick start, and France bidding for more time.
According to Sondland, the breakdown of negotiations will have consequences.
“The more the EU leadership plays the delay game the more we will have to use leverage to realign the relationship,” he said. “The (U.S.) Democrats disagree with President Trump on many issues.... but when it comes to fixing our trade imbalance with the EU there is no daylight between (us), none.”
The key part of the July agreement of Juncker and Trump was the removal of import duties on “non-auto industrial goods”. The EU rejected Washington’s demand that agriculture also figure in the negotiations.