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European officials skeptical about US deal

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Obstacles such as duties on steel and aluminum, as well as threats from the Trump administration to impose tariffs on cars, must be removed before trade negotiations between the US and the EU begin, said the chairman of the European Parliament trade committee, Politico writes .

“You can imagine that the European Parliament is skeptical of trade relations with the United States,” said Bernd Lange.

Such comments appeared due to the fact that by March 18 both parties are trying to conclude a semblance of a mini-deal. These words cast doubt on the hope that sales representatives will be able to make significant progress in the negotiations in the near future.

Lange noted that steel and aluminum tariffs, the threat of car taxes, the long-standing disagreement between Boeing and Airbus and the dispute over Spanish olives are the four main problems in the negotiations between Washington and Brussels.

The chairman of the European Parliament’s trade committee said the Europeans also believe that they have made several concessions since President Donald Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker signed a trade ceasefire in July 2018.

He referred to the EU decision to increase soybean purchases and increase quotas for hormone-free beef imports as two examples, adding that many European lawmakers have not seen similar steps by the United States.

“How can I explain further concessions to the United States without any signal from the US?” Said Lange.

When asked about the reduction of barriers to trade in agricultural products, which the US insists on in the negotiations, Lange reiterated the EU’s position that this topic is not part of the limited mandate agreed at the meeting in July 2018.

“The European side’s appetite for negotiations is very limited,” Lange said.

The current atmosphere is “completely different” from the negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which lasted from 2013 to 2016 and included agriculture, because at that time “we had a comprehensive mandate and everything was on the agenda.”

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