EU Trade Chief Will Continue Talks With U.S.'s Lighthizer

(Bloomberg) -- The European Union’s trade chief, Cecilia Malmstrom, will continue talks with her U.S. counterpart on Thursday, after the two met earlier in the week in an effort to tamp down escalating commercial tensions, according to the European Commission.

The EU said after the first meeting that it was preparing to ask its member governments for the green light to start negotiating with the U.S. on a free-trade deal. Malmstrom and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will take stock of the technical work that continued after their Tuesday meeting, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.

The movement comes after the EU and U.S. in July reached a political agreement to “work together toward zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers, and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods.’’ The EU is trying to stave off a threat from President Donald Trump to impose levies on foreign cars.

The European Commission said it has begun work on a draft mandate for a trans-Atlantic accord to cut duties on industrial goods. The commission is also drawing up a request for permission to reach an agreement with the U.S. on “conformity assessment,” part of a parallel push for deeper regulatory cooperation.

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