The EU agreed Monday to launch trade talks with the U.S., but said it would suspend them should President Donald Trump impose new tariffs or refuse to withdraw existing steel and aluminum duties as part of the negotiations.
Negotiating directives approved by EU ministers seek to eliminate duties for industrial goods and establish joint standards for the testing, inspection and certification of new products. Fisheries are included in the negotiations, but agriculture is not.
The talks, part of a transatlantic trade truce reached in July last year, are driven by hopes that the negotiations can convince Trump to not slap high tariffs on imports of European cars and car parts.
“With today’s adoption of the negotiating directives for trade talks, the EU is delivering on what Donald Trump and I have agreed” last year, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker wrote on Twitter, adding that “slashing tariffs on industrial products could lead to additional increase in EU and U.S. exports worth €26 billion.”
EU trade chief Cecilia Malmström said the negotiations could allow the two sides “to…