The new European Union (EU) trade commissioner, Phil Hogan, today called for “refreshing and restarting” the “shared” trade agenda with the United States and highlighted the “good start” of the talks despite the threats of tariffs launched by the president, Donald Trump.
“I am hopeful that the 2020s can be an era of refreshed and renewed trans-Atlantic relations,” Hogan, who took office in December, said at a conference at the Center for Strategic Studies.
At a press conference with reporters, the Irish commissioner noted “a good start” in “restarting” the trade talks after a series of meetings with Foreign Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and several Democrat and Republican lawmakers in Congress.
“There are powerful and influential voices on both sides of the Atlantic urging political leadership to re-level and reclaim the shared trade agenda in the U.S. and the EU,” he said.
This is Hogan’s first visit to Washington as commissioner, and comes in the wake of last year’s World Trade Organization (WTO) rulings against the EU in the protracted Airbus-Boeing dispute, which authorized the US to retaliate against the Twenty-Eight for up to $7.5 billion.
Trump has repeatedly criticised the EU for its “very unfair” trade policy towards Washington.
Hogan pointed out, in this sense, the voluminous trade between both parties for which he considered it counterproductive to enter into an escalation of tariffs.
However, he warned that the EU is ready to retaliate: “We will not act timidly. We will defend our interests vigorously”.
The WTO recently ruled that the EU has failed to demonstrate that it has withdrawn subsidies from four of the countries where A380 aircraft parts are manufactured (France, Spain, Germany and the UK) or similar support from the German and UK governments for the A350 XWB.
Since 18 October, the dispute has resulted in US tariffs worth $7.5 billion on goods mainly from the above-mentioned European countries, including fresh cheese, olives and wine.