The European Union and the United States are expected to commit at a summit in Brussels next week to end their transatlantic trade disputes over metals and aircraft and call for progress in a new study into the origins of the COVID-19, according to a draft press release.
The seven-page draft, seen by Reuters, aims to show the concrete results of the “new dawn” hailed by European leaders when US President Joe Biden took over from Donald Trump in January.
The project, which was discussed by EU ambassadors on Wednesday, pledges to end a long-standing dispute over subsidies to aircraft manufacturers by July 11 and set a December 1 deadline for end punitive tariffs linked to a trade dispute over steel and aluminum.
Despite pressure from US steel industry groups to maintain Trump’s “Section 232” national security tariffs, the bill states, “We pledge to work towards lifting by December 1, 2021 all the additional / punitive tariffs on both sides related to our steel and aluminum. dispute. “
Steel industry sources told Reuters the language could target retaliatory tariffs on both sides, such as those on whiskey and motorcycles, not necessarily the underlying US tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum. A deal between the United States and the EU in May to prevent the dispute from escalating has left them in place as the two sides negotiate for six months to remedy excess global metals capacity largely centered in China. Read more
Some 12 EU countries are considering a proposal to extend their own steel “safeguard” quotas beyond the end of June to protect European steelmakers from an influx of imports.
Biden will meet EU Director General Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel, who represents EU governments, and will also pledge to promote international cooperation to tackle global warming. Read more
The EU and the US are the world’s main trading powers, along with China, but Trump has sought to sideline the EU.
After concluding a free trade agreement with the EU, the Trump administration has focused on reducing the growing US deficit in merchandise trade. Biden, however, sees the EU as an ally in promoting free trade, as well as in the fight against climate change and the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the Brussels summit, the two sides will agree to cooperate on Chinese policy and call for a new study on the origins of the pandemic, first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan, according to the project. Read more
“We call for progress in a transparent, evidence-based, expert-led Phase 2 study convened by the WHO into the origins of COVID-19, without interference,” the project says.
The two dominant theories are that the virus passed from animals, perhaps bats, to humans, or that it escaped from a virology lab in Wuhan. Members of a WHO team that traveled to China this year to investigate the origin of COVID-19 said they did not have access to all the data.
Despite the pledge of support, the EU “is not going to launch its own investigation,” an EU diplomat said. “We are not anti-China.”
A second EU diplomat said the group “has no intelligence services, and we are not going to try to do this origin research through our member state agencies,” adding: ” Americans can still talk to European services in member states, but we’re not going to get involved. “
Despite the caveats, if accepted, the common position on China will be a boost for the Biden administration, which is looking for friends to stand up to Beijing but has said it will not force any ally to choose. his camp.
In a concession to the EU, the draft makes no mention of Biden’s proposals for vaccine patent waivers to boost global production. Instead, he pledges to reduce US export restrictions and promote voluntary technology transfer. Read more.
The task of completely inoculating the world should be a long one. The text specifies that the United States and the EU “aspire to vaccinate at least two thirds of the world population by the end of 2022”. This means that 2.5 billion people around the world may not get vaccinated until 2023.
EU states have so far tried to maintain a strategic balance that avoids alienating neither China nor the United States.
But China’s military expansion, its claims to sovereignty over most of the South China Sea, and the massive detentions of Uyghur Muslims in northwest China have changed the mood in Brussels.
“We intend to consult and cooperate closely on all issues within the framework of our respective China-like multifaceted approaches, which include elements of cooperation, competition and systemic rivalry,” said the project.
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