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Ready when you are, EU tells U.S. on trade talks

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on April 15, 2019 - Duration: 01:36s

Ready when you are, EU tells U.S. on trade talks

The European Union is ready to starts talks on a trade agreement with the United States and could conclude a deal before the end of the year, European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said on Monday.

David Pollard reports.

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Ready when you are, EU tells U.S. on trade talks

Tariff turbulence has hit U.S./China trade And last week threatened to hit EU/U.S. relations as a dispute over aircraft subsidies went up a notch.

This week, the EU appears eager to downplay some of the tension and on Monday gave final clearance to start formal trade talks.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) EU TRADE COMMISSIONER, CECILIA MALMSTROM, SAYING: "I will reach out as soon as they wake up in the U.S. ..... We are ready as soon as they are." France voted against the move - Belgium abstained.

But Germany was keen.

Its exports of cars and car parts to the U.S. are more than half the EU total, cars which have become a possible target for 25 percent tariffs by Washington.

The EU is willing to discuss those and other industrial goods.

But not farm products, it has said - a refusal which could set it on a collision course with Washington, which is likely to demand full access to EU markets for its agricultural goods.

As for the aircraft subsidies dispute: despite Monday's announcement, Malmstrom confirmed the Commission had started drawing up a list of U.S. imports it could hit with tariffs.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) EU TRADE COMMISSIONER, CECILIA MALMSTROM, SAYING: "It will be published on Wednesday for consultation as it is the norm and the rule by the WTO (World Trade Organization).

We always follow this of course." The dispute centres on reciprocal claims of illegal aid to plane giants Airbus and Boeing.

Donald Trump last week threatened to impose tariffs on $11 billion worth of EU products.

EU diplomats said the Commission's list of U.S. imports it could target amounts to over double that.

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