The European Union (EU) is ready to cut zero import duties on all industrial products, including motor vehicles, provided that the US imposes similar tariff reductions, said Commissioner for Trade Policy Cecilia Malmström on Thursday.
At the hearing of the European Parliament’s Trade Commission, Malström stated that the reduction of import duties should be mutually supportive.
“If that were to happen, it would be good for us in the economy and it would be good for them too,” he said.
The Commissioner underlined that if the United States decided to impose new tariffs for the Union at any time, the EU could “immediately interrupt the negotiations” and take appropriate action. The EU does not reappear the free trade negotiations (TTIPs) initiated with the United States, instead it focuses on a much more limited agreement, only on tariffs on goods.
In his view, in the event of an agreement, negotiating parties may also find ways to facilitate the United States to export liquefied natural gas to Europe. However, this should be negotiated on a case-by-case basis between the Member States, he said.
“We strive to finalize a broad agreement in the European Commission’s mandate ending in the fall of 2019. There is every chance for this,” he added.
According to Malström, the European Union shares the US concerns about Chinese industrial aid, “the approach is wrong”. The EU does not agree with the methods that hit China with heavy tariffs. Furthermore, he does not share the view that “a commercial war is good and easy to win,” he said.
The EU and the United States are conducting preliminary negotiations on details of a possible trade agreement. During a meeting of the parties last week, America rejected the EU proposal to include issues affecting the car industry in the negotiations.
US President Donald Trump and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker agreed at the end of July in Washington for talks that none of the parties have yet to implement new customs duties, both sides will seek to reduce the tariffs on industrial products to zero, cooperation in the field of energy, and Europe is buying more liquefied natural gas and soy from the United States.