EU’s Hogan Sees ‘Turbulent’ Period Ahead on U.S.-EU Trade Front

European Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan said he expects the transatlantic trade relationship will hit a rough patch that could soon result in higher tariffs on U.S. and European goods.

“Judging by the signals coming out of the United States administration in recent days I think we could have a turbulent period ahead in the context of the U.S. election,” Hogan said Tuesday during a webinar in Brussels. “I don’t see good positive signals from President Trump in recent days about threatening more tariffs on European products.”

Last week the U.S. floated the idea of imposing new tariffs on $3.1 billion of tariffs on European exports including olives, beer, gin and trucks, in retaliation for Brussels’ illegal subsidies to Airbus SE.

The development came after Donald Trump revisited his pledge to impose tariffs on European cars, and his top trade official Robert Lighthizer threatened to levy additional tariffs on exports from France and various other European nations if they “unilaterally” impose a digital services tax on U.S. e-commerce companies.

Hogan said he has failed to achieve much traction in reducing such tensions between the U.S. and EU this year. The U.S. has twice rejected Brussels’ offer to negotiate a settlement to the 15-year-old World Trade Organization dispute over subsidies to the Boeing Co. and Airbus, he said.

“Three weeks ago when I spoke to Ambassador Lighthizer, he said he was in a very comfortable position because they have unilaterally declared Boeing to be in compliance with the WTO ruling,” Hogan said. “We expect a ruling of the WTO panel on Boeing in early September and we are ready to retaliate if we don’t have an agreed outcome by then.”

Hogan on Monday said he had decided against running for the top position at the WTO so he can focus on the EU’s busy trade agenda.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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