EU hopes to end US air dispute by July

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union and the United States are working to resolve a dispute over subsidies to aircraft manufacturers and are expected to be able to do so by July, the trade chief said on Thursday. EU in another sign of improving transatlantic trade relations.

FILE PHOTO: European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis speaks at a press conference following a meeting of European Union foreign trade ministers at the European Council headquarters in Brussels , Belgium, May 20, 2021. Francisco Seco / Pool via REUTERS / File Photo

The two sides agreed in March to suspend tariffs on billions of dollars in imports amid a 16-year-old dispute at the World Trade Organization over subsidies for aircraft manufacturers Airbus and Boeing. The suspension runs until July 10, with tariffs reapplied on July 11 if there is no solution.

“We had intensive and broad discussions on this topic with US Trade Representative Katherine Tai last week and in today’s videoconference she confirmed this timeline,” Commission Vice-President said. commissioner, Valdis Dombrovskis, at a press conference.

“Work is progressing, so I would say this timeline is realistic. Of course, this requires efforts on both sides. “

While US President Joe Biden has made it clear that he remains focused on protecting American jobs, European officials hope his administration will make trade relations with the United States more predictable than during Donald Trump’s presidency.

German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier described the talks with Tai as “extremely constructive”.

“I think we are entitled to say that there is a historic window of opportunity to resolve trade disputes between Europe and the United States,” he told reporters.

Earlier this week, the Commission, which oversees EU trade policy, declared a partial truce in a three-year dispute over US tariffs on steel and aluminum, saying it would not impose retaliatory rights on more American products. [L5N2N42PT]

“Overall, it has now been over 100 days since the Biden administration took office and we have seen many positive developments and much more active engagement,” said Dombrovskis.

Dombrovskis said US tariffs on metals and the EU’s initial retaliatory duties from 2018 should be removed as soon as possible, and at least by the end of the year. He said the EU and the US are working on this timeline.

Meanwhile, 12 EU countries, including Germany, have called for an extension of steel “safeguard” quotas beyond their expiration at the end of June in order to protect the industry against a wave of deregulation. ‘imports.

Dombrovskis said the Commission is expected to present a proposal in early June, adding that there was a difficult balance to be struck between the steel and steel-consuming industries.

“If we extend beyond three years, as would be the case, we expose ourselves to legal reprisals from third countries,” he continued.

Another area of ​​emerging consensus between the EU and the US is the need for a tougher line on China. Their partial truce included a joint statement on the need to “hold countries like China to account for supporting policies that distort trade.”

Separately, the European Parliament on Thursday suspended the ratification of an investment pact with China until Beijing lifts sanctions against EU politicians, deepening a dispute over Sino-EU relations and denying EU companies greater access to China.

The resolution to freeze ratification was adopted with 599 votes in favor, 30 against and 58 abstentions.

Beijing’s punitive measures, blocking travel to China and doing business with its companies, were imposed in March in response to Western sanctions against Chinese officials accused of mass detention of Muslim Uyghurs in northwest China.

European lawmakers say Chinese sanctions are not based on international law, while the bloc’s measures tackle human rights violations confirmed in United Nations treaties. Beijing denies any wrongdoing.

Despite all the tensions, Germany had earlier announced that exports to China in April rose 16.3% year-on-year to 8.4 billion euros. He also said exports to the United States had jumped by more than 60% to € 10.1 billion during the same period, underscoring the importance of trade for Europe’s largest economy. [S8N27Z087]

Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; additional reporting by Sabine Siebold and Robin Emmott; edited by Mark John and Chizu Nomiyama

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