European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will meet with US President Donald Trump in Washington next week to explore the possibility of initiating negotiations on lowering car tariffs for several key trading partners. It is reported by Bloomberg with reference to two sources familiar with the situation.
Juncker is probably signaling the EU’s readiness to consider the so-called multilateral sectoral deal to reduce car duties between the two sides, as well as other major car exporting countries, said one of the agency’s interlocutors. Such a deal, which could significantly affect the automotive sector, takes time. Sources doubted that Trump would accept her.
Juncker and Trump “will focus on improving transatlantic trade and fostering economic partnerships,” the European Commission statement said on Tuesday announced the July 25 meeting.
The EU is trying to prevent a U.S. investigation into whether importing cars and auto parts is detrimental to national security, which could lead to 20% car duties. Junker seeks to resolve the conflict after the block imposed € 2.8 billion in duties on US goods in response to US duties on steel and aluminum.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Photo: EPA-EFE / STEPHANIE LECOCQ
According to another Bloomberg source, the EU wants to use Junker’s meeting with Trump to discuss further actions, given the differences between the bloc’s member states. Germany, which delivered 640,000 cars to the United States last year, is ready to negotiate with Trump.
According to Vesti.Ekonomika, earlier this month German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would support a reduction in EU duties on car imports from the United States. This statement was in response to Washington’s proposal to abandon the threat of imposing duties on European cars in exchange for concessions.
“If we want to agree on tariffs, for example for cars, we need a common European position and we are still working on it,” Merkel said.
Any step to reduce tariffs on American cars will require a reduction in tariffs on vehicles imported from other countries, in accordance with the rules of the World Trade Organization, she said.
Some EU member states, including France, oppose such a massive global automobile deal. However, there is no other legally possible concession that the block can offer to reassure Trump, one Bloomberg official said. Even if Juncker does not have the mandate to make a binding offer to Trump, he will consider this option, as this is a decision that the EU executive considers realistic, the official said.