Stalled Yet Again: EU Says ‘No’ to New Trade Talks with the US

Written by | Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

The European Parliament did not pass the resolution that would start trade talks with the United States on lifting tariffs in industrial goods. The move is likely to exacerbate tensions between both sides of the Atlantic as the ‘no’ to the negotiations had been a result of the divisions among the EU member states. Although the resolution is not binding, the parliament has to approve any deal to be signed with the United States, and EU capitals hinted that they wanted to hear the opinion of lawmakers before deciding.

The draft set the conditions for the talks: to include cars and leave out agriculture and be suspended if Washington imposes new punitive tariffs. However, leading MEPs expressed their strong concern that opening negotiations with Donald Trump while the steel and aluminium tariffs against European exporters are still effective. To that end, the chair of the European Parliament’s international trade committee, Bernd Lange, said the EU had already done many concessions, and he wondered about “where the concessions from the US are.”

Some critics also think that Donald Trump was in favor of imposing new duties on EU car exporters aiming to make the bloc open its own market to US farmers. However, there are countries in the EU, led by France, that are not willing to continue with the talks while tariffs are still in place. There was a stand-off last July when Donald Trump agreed to hold off imposing tariffs on European car imports while Brussels and Washington were looking to better their trade relations. Since then, the EU almost doubled soy imports from the US and both sides talked about the improvement they could make on product standards.


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