Brussels prepared to scrap car tariffs in trade deal with Washington

The EU is willing to abandon tariffs on all industrial products, including cars, in a trade deal with the US

GAME CHANGERS
Malmström says discussions aim for ‘a more limited trade agreement’ rather than ‘restarting TTIP’.

The EU is willing to abandon tariffs on all industrial products, including cars, in a trade deal with the US, Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström has announced.

“We said that we are ready from the EU side to go to zero tariffs on all industrial goods, of course if the US does the same, so it would be on a reciprocal basis,” Malmström told the European Parliament’s trade committee.
“We are willing to bring down even our car tariffs down to zero … if the US does the same,” she said, adding that “it would be good for us economically, and for them.”

This announcement goes beyond European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s and US President Donald Trump’s joint statement in July, which only mentioned eliminating tariffs, non-tariff barriers and subsidies for “non-auto industrial goods.”

Brussels and Washington are engaging in preliminary trade talks to define the scope of a possible future agreement. During an initial meeting in Washington last week, an EU proposal for including cars in the discussions was rejected by the U.S., POLITICO reported Thursday.

The EU’s car tariff of 10 percent is higher than the general US auto tariff of 2.5 percent, but America imposes a 25 percent duty on light trucks and pickups.

Malmström maintained that the talks are not about “restarting TTIP” but aiming for “a more limited trade agreement.”

“Agriculture would not be in the agreement, nor public procurement as it looks to today,” she said.

Published: August 31, 2018