New EU trade commissioner to seek reset of EU/US trade relations

EU trade chief Phil Hogan tells the Irish Times he will seek a reset of EU/US trade relations next month

The new European Union trade commissioner, Phil Hogan, will seek a reset of EU/US trade relations on a number of issues when he meets his US counterpart for the first time next month, according to media reports.

The Irish Times reported that Mr Hogan had his first phone call with US trade representative Robert Lightizer just before Christmas.

“We agreed to meet in Washington in mid-January to discuss the long list of issues causing strain in the relationship between the EU and the US. There is no point in getting into the details of resolving trade irritants unless we agree a line on a common trade agenda,” the Irish daily quoted Hogan as saying.

“I will be seeking a reset of the EU/US trade relationship on issues like tariffs on steel and aluminium and the threat of US tariffs in response to a digital tax in Europe, ” he said.

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In March 2018, US President Donald Trump announced the imposition of a tariff on imports of steel and aluminium products from the EU. Since, the US has set tariffs on $7.5 billion (£5.7 billion, €6.7 billion) worth of EU products that include anything from aircraft to agricultural products. Washington did so in retaliation over subsidies for European aircraft manufacturer Airbus that the US government.

The US goods and services trade deficit with the EU was $109 billion in 2018, making the bloc the United States’ largest export market, according to US government data. The EU, for its part, was the second-largest supplier of goods and services to the United States last year.

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