Germany calls for fresh US trade talks amid Ukraine crisis as UK 'transatlantic dialogues' begin

Mon 21 Mar 2022
Posted by: Noelle McElhatton
Trade News

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Germany’s finance minister has called for a renewed effort to secure an EU-US free trade deal ahead of a trip to Brussels by US president Joe Biden this month.

Christian Lindner has said the EU should revive talks that ended in 2016 when then-US president Donald Trump withdrew from Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations as part of his America First trade stance.

Lindner told German newspaper Handelsblatt: “We should resume negotiation on a transatlantic free trade agreement. Especially now in the [Ukraine] crisis, it is becoming clear how important free trade is with partners around the world who share our values.”

Half of global GDP

According to the Telegraph, the US and the EU account for nearly half of global GDP and almost a third of world trade. However, trade relations waned when Trump put tariffs on EU aluminium and steel and threatened to hit car exports with a 20% tariff.

Both then agreed to end the trade dispute in October 2021.

It is unclear how much support there is for Lindner’s call in the rest of the EU, reports Reuters.

In a statement, the US embassy in Berlin said an existing US-EU Trade and Technology Council ensured that trade and technology policies support broad-based growth.

“The current crisis shows the United States and Germany, and the European Union, are indispensable partners,” it added.

US-UK 'dialogues'

The news comes as the UK and US today start  ‘Joint UK/US Dialogues on the Future of Atlantic Trade’to explore possibilities for a future trade deal to boost their existing £200bn relationship, as covered in the IOE&IT Daily Update.

As part of DIT’s strategy on boosting trade with the US, the Transatlantic Dialogues start today in Baltimore and are and will be followed up by another event in London in the spring. International trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan will attend along with US trade representative Katherine Tai.

Labour has called on Trevelyan to bring a deal on outstanding steel tariffs back from Baltimore, reports the Mirror.

Steel deal

Because of Brexit, the UK was not part of a deal between the EU and US to end the so-called section 232 tariffs and is still pursuing its own negotiations. British steel exports to the US face 25% tariffs.

Experts believe president Biden may be resisting cutting tariffs because of the ongoing deadlock over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The new dialogues accompany UK efforts to pursue a series of state-level agreements with individual US states that will make it easier and cheaper for UK and US businesses to work together, reports the Express.