January 14, 2019

U.S./EU Trade Negotiations Move Forward

U.S. trade negotiators were busy last week. While deputies were in China to meet with their counterparts there, European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström met with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer as the United States and the European Union (EU) prepare to launch formal trade negotiations in coming weeks. (In October, Ambassador Lighthizer formally notified Congress of the administration’s intent to initiate trade talks with the EU.)

The talks were preliminary and not a lot of detail was released, but before departing Washington, Malmström was asked whether the European Union would accept export restrictions in an effort to avoid potential U.S. national security tariffs on automobiles, which President Donald Trump has threatened to put into place. Her answer, according to Politico? A simple, “No, we wouldn’t.”

The United States, meanwhile, released its negotiating objectives for its talks with the EU. With respect to industrial goods, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said the goals are:

  • Secure comprehensive duty-free market access for U.S. industrial goods and strengthen disciplines to address non-tariff barriers that constrain U.S. exports.
  • Expand market access for remanufactured goods exports by ensuring that they are not classified as used goods that are restricted or banned.
  • Secure duty-free access for U.S. textile and apparel products and seek to improve competitive opportunities for exports of U.S. textile and apparel products while taking into account U.S. import sensitivities.
  • Secure commitments with respect to greater regulatory compatibility to facilitate U.S. exports in key goods sectors and reduce burdens associated with unnecessary differences in regulation, including through regulatory cooperation where appropriate.

The list of objectives can be found here.