European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker came to DC Wednesday, allegedly to talk about trade. Juncker came with no offers, or even ideas, to propose concerning the European Union’s trade status with the US , and he was proud of that lack. Apparently, he just came for some idle chit-chat and to see the sights. EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom, though, had some concrete things to say before Juncker left to come over.
If the tariff dispute were to include cars that would be a “disaster,”
Deutsche Welle cited her as saying. And this, as paraphrased by DW:
trade is between companies and people, not between states. The citizens, she says, would end up paying the price for the quarrel.
President Donald Trump has already proposed, both to the G-7 and to the G-20, a completely tariff-free trade regime. There is already an offer on the table, agreed in principle between the US and German auto companies, to have completely tariff-free auto and auto parts trade between the US and the EU.
The EU, the other six members of the G-7, and the other nineteen members of the G-20 refuse even to acknowledge, much less discuss, those no-tariff offers.
If Malmstrom is serious, why will she not discuss these things in Brussels, especially the removal of tariffs from the auto and auto parts trade? If Malmstrom is serious, why is she not working to get the EU’s governance out of the way so companies and people can conduct their trade without EU interference?
In the event, Trump and Juncker did reach an agreement to discuss a deal–and to work toward realization of Trump’s offer of a no-tariff trade regime, and to include in that discussion talks with a view to working toward a no-subsidy and no-trade non-tariff barrier regime.
We’ll see what comes to fruition–any EU agreement requires unanimity across all 28 wildly philosophically disparate nations, any one of which can veto an agreement.