In an attempt to avoid the steel and aluminum tariffs being implemented by the Trump administration, the EU is coming back to the table on a stalled free trade agreement known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. To sweeten the deal, the EU is offering to join with the U.S. to combat Chinese trade abuses. Valentina Pop and Bojan Pancevski report:
The European Union is drawing up a peace offer it hopes will end trade hostilities with the White House and avoid steel and aluminum tariffs being imposed on the bloc in two weeks’ time, according to European officials.
Its centerpiece: A miniature, simplified version of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership—the controversial EU-U.S. trade agreement that was negotiated but never concluded under the Obama administration.
To complete the offer, the EU is considering joining forces with the U.S. in tackling what both see as China’s unfair trade practices, the officials said.
The proposed mini-deal fulfills a central demand of President Donald Trump : lower tariffs on U.S. cars, parts and industrial machinery entering Europe.
In return for lower barriers, which could also apply to some agricultural products and pharmaceuticals, the EU would ask for its companies to be granted access to U.S. government procurement, a longstanding hurdle in the TTIP negotiations.
The eventual agreement could include a commitment for the EU to participate together with the U.S. in legal action against China at the World Trade Organization, as well as a pledge for leading European governments to apply more pressure on Beijing to create a level playing field for international companies and curb intellectual property theft, according to German officials.
“On China, we agree with the U.S. on the problem, we just don’t agree on the method,” said one EU diplomat familiar with talks on the new offer.
Alongside other sweeteners, the EU is also speeding up unrelated negotiations that would allow more U.S. high-end beef exports to enter the EU market but have been dragging on for years.
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