US officials want to speed up negotiations for EU trade deal

For the US and the EU, avoiding a trade war is high on the agenda. Earlier in the year, an agreement was reached which it’s hoped will prevent tariffs between the two; and stop the situation escalating into a full blown transatlantic, or even global trade battle. Donald Trump agreed not to impose the proposed tariffs on European companies. In exchange, the two sides will now discuss their future economic relationship, including the possibility of cutting tariffs on American steel and aluminium.

But, according to EU officials, these talks could be sped up due to demands from the US administration, who want a quicker resolution. The German ambassador to the US, Emily Haber noted in a recent interview:  “The Americans are in fact pressing for very rapid results. As far as the timelines go, I would point out that we have European Parliament elections next year, and an agreement would have to be reached in a timely manner before these elections.”

In a report from Reuters, a US official who was not named, said that Washington is looking for the negotiations to be put on “a much faster timeline”. Although no specific dates were given, it’s believed that the talks will begin as soon as this week. The US president and Jean-Claude Juncker previously agreed that these talks would go ahead after their meeting in July this year. However, officials in the US have expressed some impatience over the lack of progress shown since.

Stefan Mair from the German industry group BDI said that some progress has been made in the latest talks; but he didn’t elaborate further, in particular, on the predicted timescales for a deal to be reached. “We know the Trump administration is strongly pressing for short timelines and quicker progress,” he said. He added: “But we insist that this should not happen at the expense of a thorough result because we are interested in seeing an agreement that goes beyond tariffs and looks at more general issues affecting business relationships.”

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