Trade talks between the European Union and the United States under Trump Administration

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Publication Date 2018-
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Following an escalation of the trade tensions between the European Union and the United States of America (USA) following the election of Donald Trump for the latter's presidency, the two sides decided to open a new chapter in their bilateral relations by engaging in trade talks to narrow the gap between two diverging visions on trade.

Further information:

The willingness to change the tone in bilateral trade relations was first signalled by a high-level meeting between the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and the President of the United States Donald Trump held on 25 July 2018. A Joint Statement was adopted as a result of these talks. An Executive Working Group was set up to carry a joint agenda forward, which features among other items:

  • To work toward zero tariffs, zero non-tariffs barriers, zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods;
  • To work toward reducing barriers and increasing trade in services, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, medical products, as well as soybeans;
  • To launch a dialogue on standards;
  • To join forces to protect American and European companies better from unfair global trade practices.

On 29 January 2019, the Commission gave the go-ahead for soya beans from the U.S. to be used in biofuels in the European Union, formally recognising the scheme until July 2021. On the next day, a progress report was published by the Commission on the implementation of the EU-US Joint Statement.

The European Commission published on 18 January 2019 the draft negotiating mandates for trade talks on conforming assessment and on the elimination of tariffs for industrial goods. The Council of the European Union formally adopted the two sets of guidelines for negotiations on 15 April. It was highlighted that the set of issues stemming from the Joint Statement agreed in July 2018 would be the only issues covered by the mandates. The mandates also clarified that the negotiating directives relating to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) should be considered obsolete and no longer relevant.

Donald Trump stated in May 2019 the United States could impose tariffs on vehicles and parts as they pose a national security threat. A long-standing dispute over government aid to Boeing and Airbus also threatened the trade talks between the two sides.

On 11 July, all EU Member State authorities became recognised under the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) on good manufacturing practices for human medicines (pharmaceuticals).

To mark the first anniversary since the adoption of the EU-U.S. Joint Statement, the European Commission published on 25 July 2019 a progress report providing an overview of the progress made and illustrating the depth of the engagement between the two sides.

Related Links
Commentary and Analysis
BBC News, 26/07/2018: Trade wars, Trump tariffs and protectionism explained
The New Yorker, 27/07/2018: Don’t Believe the Hype About Trump’s Trade Deal with the European Union
Chatham House: Expert Comment, 19/03/2019: EU-US Trade Relations: The Way Forward
Bruegel: Podcast, 23/04/2019: Director’s Cut: Resuming the EU-US trade talks
Foreign Policy, 30/04/2019: ‘We Are Not Negotiating With a Gun to Our Head’

Politico, 25/07/2018: ‘It’s not going to be a great meeting’: Trump to welcome Juncker
The Guardian, 25/07/2018: Trump and Juncker appear amiable at meeting aimed to avert trade war
BBC News, 26/07/2018: Trump and EU's Juncker pull back from all-out trade war
Politico, 26/07/2018: EU-US trade truce falters on Day 1 over farming
EurActiv, 27/07/2018: Trump declares victory for farmers in trade spat with EU
The Economist, 28/07/2018: Donald Trump agrees to cease fire in the trade war with the EU
Reuters, 30/08/2018: EU deeply disagrees with U.S. on trade despite detente
Politico, 30/08/2018: EU says it is willing to scrap car tariffs in US trade deal
EurActiv, 10/09/2018: EU and US to map out transatlantic trade amid tensions
Reuters, 10/09/2018: EU, U.S. make first push for closer ties after trade detente
TIME, 21/10/2018: EU Trade Talks Become Contentious as President Trump Threatens Tariffs
Reuters, 13/11/2018: EU's Malmstrom assumes U.S. won't slap autos tariffs during talks
France24, 09/01/2019: No agriculture in US-EU trade deal: official
EurActiv, 09/01/2019: EU to open trade talks on industrial goods with the US
Reuters, 29/01/2019: EU seeks to soothe U.S. by clearing soybeans for biofuel
RTÉ News, 15/04/2019: EU countries give clearance to start US trade talks
Politico, 15/04/2019: Brussels links US trade talks to demands on steel, car tariffs
The New York Times, 15/04/2019: France and Belgium Refuse Support for New Trade Talks With the U.S.
BBC News, 15/04/2019: EU approves new trade talks with US
Deutsche Welle, 15/04/2019: EU backs start of trade talks with US
Reuters, 15/04/2019: EU says it is ready to launch U.S. trade talks, but without agriculture
CNN, 15/04/2019: Europe is ready to discuss trade with the US, but talks may already be doomed
EurActiv, 09/05/2019: No trade deal without agriculture, warns US ambassador to the EU
The Guardian, 02/07/2019: Donald Trump threatens new tariffs on $4bn of EU products
EUObserver, 02/07/2019: US threatens extra trade tariffs, as EU talks top jobs
Reuters, 23/07/2019: EU has 35 billion-euro list if U.S. hits its cars, trade chief says
Bloomberg, 23/07/2019: EU Targets $39 Billion in U.S. Goods in Case of Trump Car Duties
RTÉ News, 23/07/2019: EU preparing retaliatory tariffs on US goods worth €35 billion
EurActiv, 24/07/2019: US-EU trade negotiations in stalemate, Malmström says

European Commission: Joint U.S.-EU Statement following President Juncker's visit to the White House, 25 July 2018
EP: Legislative Train: EU-US trade talks on an agreement on industrial goods and regulatory cooperation
European Commission: Press Release, 18/01/2019: EU-U.S. Trade Talks: European Commission presents draft negotiating mandates
European Commission: Press Release, 29/01/2019: The Commission recognises the U.S. Soya bean - scheme as compatible with EU sustainability standards
European Commission: Press Release, 30/01/2019: EU-U.S. trade talks: European Commission publishes progress report
European Commission: EU-US Relations: Interim Report on the work of the Executive Working Group, 30 January 2019
Council of the European Union: Press Release, 15/04/2019: Trade with the United States: Council authorises negotiations on elimination of tariffs for industrial goods and on conformity assessment
European Commission: Press Release, 15/04/2019: EU-U.S. Trade: Commission welcomes Council's green light to start negotiations with the United States
European Commission: Press Release, 16/04/2019: EU-U.S. Joint Statement: the United States is Europe's main soya beans supplier with imports up by 121%
Synopsis report of Public Consultation on EU-U.S. Regulatory Cooperation, 9 July 2019
European Commission: Press Release, 11/07/2019: EU-U.S. trade talks: milestone reached in mutual recognition on pharmaceuticals
European Commission: DG Trade: Progress Report on the Implementation of the EU-U.S. Joint Statement of 25 July 2018
European Commission: Press Release, 25/07/2019: EU-U.S. trade talks – one year on, Commission presents progress report

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