EU-US trade talks: new positions adopted

EU-US trade talks
© iStock/adventtr

The European Commission has adopted proposals today to implement directives resulting from last year’s EU-US trade talks.

The positions cover conformity assessment and the elimination of tariffs for industrial goods; and will contribute to the implementation of the Joint Statement agreed at a round of EU-US trade talks in July 2018 by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and US President Donald Trump. The Commission is publishing its draft negotiating directives concurrently with submitting them to the European Council and Member States for approval, as part of its increased commitment to transparency.

The positions agreed on today after discussion at EU-US trade talks are:

  • A trade agreement aimed at removing tariffs from the trade of non-agricultural industrial goods; and
  • An agreement on conformity assessment, which is designed to facilitate the process of companies proving their products meet technical criteria in the US and the EU with the intention of reducing and removing non-tariff barriers.

EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said: “Today’s publication of our draft negotiating directives is part of the implementation of the July joint statement of Presidents Juncker and Trump. Ambassador Lighthizer [US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who participated in the EU-US trade talks] and I have already met several times in the Executive Working Group and I have made it very clear that the EU is committed to upholding its side of the agreement reached by the two Presidents. These two proposed negotiating directives will enable the Commission to work on removing tariffs and non-tariff barriers to transatlantic trade in industrial goods, key goals of the July Joint Statement.”

In the wake of last year’s EU-US trade talks, the EU has implemented several of the measures agreed on in the Joint Statement. Since importation of soya beans garnered a special mention in the statement, EU imports of American soya beans has increased by 112 per cent, rendering the US the main supplier of soya beans to the EU. Shipments of US liquefied natural gas to the EU have also increased substantially.

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