The EU is ready for negotiations on industrial tariffs, its top trade official said
By Diego Flammini
Agriculture won’t be part of any trade discussions between the U.S. and the European Union, Europe’s top trade representative said.
Speaking with reporters in Belgium on Monday, EU Trade Commissioner Cecila Malmstrom said “there is absolutely no possibility to include agriculture in these discussions,” the Associated Press reported.
Phil Hogan, Europe’s agriculture commissioner, agrees.
“Agriculture should be excluded from negotiations with the United States,” he told Reuters during the G20 in Japan.
The EU is prepared to start negotiations on industrial tariffs, but the U.S. “seem not to be, yet. We have conflicting mandates there,” Malmstrom told the Associated Press.
This latest round of rejection comes after the EU formally voted to exclude ag from trade talks with the U.S. last month.
It’s also the latest move in the chess match between the two potential trading partners.
Bilateral discussions date back to July 2018 when President Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker agreed to form a working group to reduce trade barriers.
In January 2019, the EU announced an agreement that will allow U.S. soybeans to be used in biofuel production. The deal is in place until at least July 1, 2021.
Then in February, French President Emmanuel Macron said he wouldn’t support trade negotiations with the U.S. that included ag because the EU holds its farmers to standards which U.S. producers don’t meet.
U.S. President Trump has threatened the EU with tariffs if American farm products aren’t part of trade talks.
Farms.com has reached out to U.S. farmers and ag organizations for comment.