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[Published: Monday April 15 2019]

EU agrees to start trade talks with US amid tariff row escalation

BRUSSELS - On 11 April, the European Commission received initial clearance from member states’ representatives to start negotiations designed to mend trade relations between the US and EU.

On Monday, the European Union countries gave the final go-ahead to start trade talks with the United States after months of delay due to resistance from France.

A majority among the EU governments voted to support the negotiating mandates proposed by the European Commission, with France voting against and Belgium abstaining.

According to reports, the European Commission wants to start negotiations on two proposals; the first is to cut tariffs on industrial goods, the second is to make it easier for companies to show their products meet EU and US standards.

While other member states supported the mandates, France has resisted. Paris wanted to exclude agriculture from the talks and discuss climate change provisions.

The war of tariffs between the US and European Union broke out last year when US President Donald Trump imposed higher taxes on steel and aluminium imports. Europe responded with counter-tariffs on a number of US goods.

In July 2018, Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker agreed to work toward zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers, and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods.-(ANA) -

AB/ANA/15 April 2019 - - -


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