EU Director-General for Trade Sabine Weyand has put forward plans to solve ongoing trade disputes experienced under the leadership of Donald Trump with incoming US President Joe Biden. The former Vice President will be officially be sworn into the White House following his inauguration on January 20. And Brussels plans on wasting no time in forging ties with the Biden administration. It comes as Brexit Britain has made clear it is seeking deeper trade relations with the US.
Ms Weyand said the EU will attempt to solve trade disputes involving digital taxes and commercial aircraft subsidies.
Under the Trump administration, the EU has been engaged in a long-running Boeing-Airbus subsidy dispute.
The lack of an agreement on state interference has caused both sides to impose expensive tariffs – including £2.9billion ($4billion) worth of US goods.
President Trump had threatened to impose further tariffs on French cosmetics, handbags and other goods in retaliation for France’s digital services tax.
The US Trade Representative’s (USTR) has since held back after exploring similar tax measures being plans in countries including the UK, Italy, Spain and India.
But, on December 31, the USTR did press ahead with increasing tariffs on French and German aircraft parts and wines.
The EU decided to hold off any retaliation against the Trump administration.
Ms Weyand said the EU has been “holding our fire” and waiting for Mr Biden to take over in order to resolve the matter.
She said: “We’ve been holding our fire because we said, ‘okay it’s three weeks to the new administration’.
“So let’s engage rapidly in this, but our objective here is to come to a situation where both sides hopefully would agree to suspend the tariffs.”
Another source of tensions between the EU and US has been the role of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
For many years, the US had sought to undermine the global trade body and has hit out at rulings made by the WTO Appellate Body – a panel made up of seven judges to settle appeals.
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“What we cannot accept is that the US takes the law into its own hands.”
The EU chief added the bloc is looking to work closely with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
The global trade body known as the OECD has been tasked with overseeing a global solution to digital taxation.
Ms Weyand said: “We are working on an EU proposal and we have timed it so that it coincides with the OECD process and I think there is a possibility to discuss it.”