What Happened: Ambassadors from EU member states have reportedly approved the European Commission's negotiating mandate for trade talks with the United States to reduce industrial tariffs, Bloomberg reported April 11.
Why It Matters: If given the go-ahead by EU ministers, the commission could enter trade negotiations with the United States with the intention of avoiding U.S. tariffs on imports of EU vehicles and auto parts. The talks would likely be contentious as the mandate notably does not cover agricultural products despite U.S. demands that they do so. France had insisted on excluding agriculture from the negotiations.
Background: U.S. President Donald Trump has been threatening to impose tariffs on European automobile imports. A report by the U.S. Commerce Department reportedly recommends various options to institute auto tariffs of up to 25 percent on national security grounds. Trump has until mid-May to decide whether to follow the report's recommendations.
- Why a Global Economic Downshift, No Matter How Small, Matters (Jan. 24, 2019)
- U.S., EU: Trade Negotiations Are Headed for High Hurdles (Jan. 18, 2019)
- For Trump's Auto Tariff Threats, Credibility Is the Name of the Game (Nov. 15, 2018)