EU seeks firm Biden pledge to end Trump-era trade row

  • 2021-06-09
  • LETA/AFP/TBT Staff

STRASBOURG (France) - The EU said Wednesday it was time for the US to make concrete commitments towards ending transatlantic trade tensions, days ahead of a visit by President Joe Biden to Brussels.

"As a trust and confidence building measure, we have to deescalate and solve EU-US trade disputes," EU Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis, a former Latvian prime minister, told a session of European Parliament in Strasbourg.

Dombrovskis, who is also the bloc's trade commissioner, was speaking ahead of the EU-US summit on June 15, which both sides hope will mark a clear break with the heated relations under former US president Donald Trump.

The EU hoped the visit by Biden would help achieve "decisive progress" on solving a steel tariff dispute as well as a two-decade spat over subsidies to plane-makers Boeing and Airbus, Dombrovskis said.

Last month, the EU and US agreed to hold talks to end the steel and aluminum row with Brussels unilaterally suspending its right to double tariffs on iconic US products for six months.

"We sent a clear signal to the US of our willingness to solve this issue in a fair and balanced way by suspending our... legitimate countermeasures," the former Latvian prime minister said.

"It is now for the US to walk the talk," he said.

The tit-for-tat battle began in June 2018 when Trump imposed tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum from Europe, Asia and elsewhere.

Brussels responded with counter-tariffs on 2.8 billion euros worth of US products, including bourbon whiskey, jeans, orange juice and Harley-Davidson motorbikes.