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Trump and Juncker agree to talk trade and tariffs; German industry remains cautious

Thursday, July 26th 2018 - 06:02 UTC
Full article 23 comments

A top German industry group gave a cautious welcome to solutions proposed by U.S. President Donald Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to avert a trade war, but warned that U.S. auto tariffs were not completely off the table yet. Read full article


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  • chronic

    Trump favors actual free trade.

    No tariffs/subsidies/barriers.

    Sign on or shut up.

    Jul 26th, 2018 - 01:58 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Pugol-H

    Now he’s got their attention and they have worked out what’s at stake for them, they’ll be doing the deal that is basically what he wants.

    That is the way to deal with the EU, they are not clever enough for anything more complicated than that.

    Jul 26th, 2018 - 03:27 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    Really? What's he got out of the EU so far with his flip-flopping? And what have we got out of them? The UK has given all the ground in the negotiations, the EU has barely compromised on anything.

    Jul 26th, 2018 - 03:41 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Pugol-H

    Exactly he hasn’t conceded anything and they are willing to talk sensibly, now he has reminded them of what is at stake for them.

    As I understand it cars from the EU to the US pay some 2.5% tariff whereas the other way the tariff is some 12%.

    He knows they have more to lose than him and he is going to get what he wants.

    Jul 26th, 2018 - 03:47 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • chronic

    No more welfare $$$$$$ for the germans.

    The Marshall plan is finally over.

    Jul 26th, 2018 - 05:48 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    I asked what the EU conceded. Have they lowered car tariffs to 2.5%? The US has plenty of advantages in other areas, naturally Trump will pick out the ones that look good for him.

    This agreement is a big load of nothing, Trump started a trade war and now he's backing off (for a while?), that's all.

    The EU is always willing to talk, and the reason they take America seriously is because they are a large and wealthy country, not some 'one weird trick' of negotiating. The UK is not so large and not so rich, and so we have less leverage.

    Jul 26th, 2018 - 06:12 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • chronic

    Right wing alternative Washington Post:

    Jul 27th, 2018 - 02:25 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Pugol-H

    Yes, so far they have only agreed to talk, my point is that they will be serious negotiations in which he will get most of what he wants.

    Meanwhile he keeps in place the new tariffs on Steel and Aluminium just to remind them of what can happen.

    The EU only talk when it suits them or as in this case they are being bent over a barrel.

    True we have nothing like Trump’s leverage, but we are not completely without it either.

    The UK Gov should have only traded concessions instead of just making them. You find out much earlier in the negotiations if they are serious or not, saves a lot of time.

    Time which could be spent on preparations for WTO rules.

    No point in spending months and months trying to negotiate a deal where the other side has no intention of reaching any kind of compromise.

    Jul 27th, 2018 - 04:18 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Terence Hill

    chronic i.e pathological
    “He is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and the former chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush.”
    So he doesn't have any particular credentials, as a writer other than being partisan. If that's your best offering, its decidedly lame.

    Jul 28th, 2018 - 02:28 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    “he will get most of what he wants.”

    Saw that in your crystal ball, did you? I'm not going to be advising anyone to copy his negotiating strategy until we've seen the results. I haven't been particularly impressed with anything he's achieved so far. And the EU are keeping their tariffs in place too, while US taxpayers are picking up the tab as per usual.

    As for our government, they could hardly have done worse; they still can't even agree on what they are aiming for. But you must know why the EU aren't making any concessions: they'd rather make a deal, but they are willing to see a hard Brexit rather than cross their red lines.

    Jul 28th, 2018 - 05:53 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Pugol-H

    Don’t need a crystal ball to see how good Trump is at getting people’s attention, the first pre-requisite for a serious negotiation.

    True we have yet to see what he achieves in the talks and that will be the acid test.

    The EUs attitude has little to do with crossing any of their red lines, everything to do with forcing the UK Gov to bend its red lines. Particularly obvious in the case of the Irish border.

    Where apparently the only viable solutions involve the UK or at least part of it, staying in at least the customs union. With of course EU rules the ECJ and sizable contributions not to mention free movement.

    It has far more to do with control than economics, a straight trade deal has to be completely in their favour or it has to carry political strings as listed above.

    We are now down to the last option, the UK will offer a straight trade type deal, only involving aspects of existing treaties such as with Japan and Canada that therefore do not cross any red lines.

    This will also be rejected unless political elements/mechanisms are included giving them some sort of control. That is crystal ball gazing.

    The lack of a clear majority in parliament either which way, works for Mogg and his merry men. What Comedy Coveney forgets is that you don’t need a majority for a hard Brexit, it’s going to happen anyway, the Brexiteers just have to play for time.

    You need a majority in favour of a deal to prevent a hard Brexit. No such deal is going to be forthcoming. Leaving WTO rules inevitable.

    Jul 29th, 2018 - 03:59 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    “True we have yet to see what he achieves in the talks and that will be the acid test.”

    Exactly. Kim Jong Un is good at getting people's attention, but that doesn't make him a good negotiator. We can't judge Trump until we see the results.

    “The EUs attitude has little to do with crossing any of their red lines, everything to do with forcing the UK Gov to bend its red lines.”

    That's a strange way to look at it. The EU only cares about what the UK does inasmuch as it affects them. And there are no good solutions to the Irish border question if we want it to stay open, something our own government claims to be equally in favour of. I hope you are better informed than the last Brexiter I discussed this with, who thought we could stay in a customs union with the EU while setting our own completely different tariffs on imports.

    You're probably right about the lack of a majority in parliament, it's very unfortunate as it has contributed to the chaos and lack of a clear plan in our government. Even after the referendum, I didn't think Brexit would turn out to be quite such a clusterfuck as it is.

    Jul 30th, 2018 - 09:30 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Pugol-H

    The good solution to the Irish border is a comprehensive trade deal that makes it irrelevant again.

    Which the Irish Gov are blocking, let us not forget, arguing for a backstop deal that must include the customs union, as that is the only way the EU will accept it.

    Any backstop deal cannot be as good as it is now or as good as a full trade deal either. Yet demanding this is preventing the only way of achieving it.

    Liability Leo and Comedy Coveney, AKA Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dumer believe Barnier & Co that the UK will give in and stay in at least the customs union, with all strings attached.

    A serious mistake (especially for Ireland) given the lack of any majority in Parliament for that or anything else. Which as I say suits Mogg & his merry men, Tic Tok.

    With the EU all roads lead to some or other red line which involves “staying in something”. As I said, last option of a straight trade deal of thing they have already agree to in existing deals, will be rejected by the EU unless political strings are attached.

    WTO is going to be the only option left.

    Jul 30th, 2018 - 05:32 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    How would a trade deal make the Irish border irrelevant? That makes absolutely no sense. Canada among other countries has signed a trade deal with the EU, but you still have to go through customs when you visit them.

    Currently import tariffs on goods from eg China are the same in the UK and Ireland, so once they have been imported into either country they can be moved to the other without additional payments. Once we leave the customs union, that will no longer be the case, so we'll need customs checks at the border to prevent smuggling. Meaning, goodbye open border.

    The UK getting a trade deal won't keep the border open, so if that is the most important thing to Ireland, they have little to lose by insisting on a backstop.

    Jul 30th, 2018 - 11:44 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Pugol-H

    The EU is/was rather a trade deal that made the border irrelevant.

    You don’t have to be in the European Union Customs Union (EUCU), you can have a customs union with the EU through a separate agreement such as the EU has with Andorra, San Marino, and Turkey.

    None of which has any political strings attached.

    The EU can do this deal if they want to, they have done it several time already, this type of deal would be the only way Ireland doesn’t have to put in a hard border and nobody crosses any red lines.

    In this case the EU won’t do it because they haven’t given up on trying to keep the UK in at least the EUCU with all the strings attached.

    A backstop as such is not the problem, hence the December Joint Report, it’s the backstop the Irish Gov are insisting on which is never going to happen.

    What they have got to lose by insisting on the impossible, is everything.

    Jul 31st, 2018 - 05:11 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    Why are Brexiteers all so woefully misformed? Never mind, I know why.

    Pugol, a Turkey style customs union is what the EU and Ireland want, and exactly what the Brexiters like Rees-Mogg keep vetoing.

    Here are your 'no political strings attached:'

    Customs Union between EU and Turkey

    Decision No 1/95 implies:
    * alignment of Turkey on Community common customs tariff, including preferential arrangements, and harmonisation of commercial policy measures;
    * approximation of customs law, in particular through Decisions of the Customs Co-operation Committee (e.g. Decision No 1/2001) and mutual assistance in customs matters;
    * approximation of other laws (intellectual property, competition, taxation, ...)

    Are you keen to agree to all that? Still think it is the EU that has a problem with this deal? And yes, that stuff is necessary, that is what a customs union IS:

    “customs union
    A group of states that have agreed to charge the same import duties as each other and usually to allow free trade between themselves.”

    Customs union => common tariffs => common trade policy => no independent trade deals for Britain.

    There is NO simple solution to the border problem, and that is why it has not been solved despite months of negotiations. A solution is already nearly impossible, so Ireland has little to lose by insisting on a backstop.

    Jul 31st, 2018 - 08:38 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Pugol-H

    You’re missing the point, again.

    Which is you don’t have to be in the EUCU, you can have a customs agreement (let’s call it that) with the EU that would at least allow for an open border in Ireland.

    Doesn’t necessarily have to mirror the Turkish agreement either, that is just an example of a different arrangement, although doesn’t seem to hold them back in the number of free trade deals they have with other countries.

    “In addition to the Customs Union with the EU, Turkey is part of regional free trade agreements (FTAs) with the Economic Cooperation Organization/ECO (Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) and the European Free Trade Area/EFTA (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland). Turkey also has bilateral FTAs with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chile, Croatia, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Palestine, Serbia, South Korea, and Tunisia, with some others still to be ratified.”

    Nobody says its simple but this is the only way Ireland can have an open border, yet it is not even going to be discussed, because of the insistence on a type of backstop deal that is never going to happen.

    They have everything to lose by insisting on the impossible, absolutely nothing to gain.

    Whilst doing Rees-Mogg’s work for him by insuring a hard Brexit.

    Aug 01st, 2018 - 05:23 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    Why do you say it has not been discussed? They have already discussed many options for the border, the backstop is supposed to allow moving on to negotiating other areas like trade agreements, and Barnier did say it doesn't have to be exactly what they have written.

    If you want a new customs union with the EU, you should have voted Labour. That is Corbyn's policy, and one May ruled out repeatedly, though it may yet come to that.

    Aug 01st, 2018 - 10:54 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Pugol-H

    Now you’re getting confused.

    I said “yet it is not even going to be discussed” i.e. a trade deal/customs agreement, which is the only way Ireland can have an open border.

    The EU are refusing to discuss trade deals until a backstop is agreed, which is proving impossible given the red lines. Wrong way round if you actually want a solution to this.

    Any back stop acceptable to the UK can’t be anything like what the EU has proposed, a complete nonstarter. The NI economy is far, far more dependent on the rest of the UK than the ROI, they HAVE to be the same side of any border as the rest of the UK is, end of.

    This is about trying to keep the UK in a least the EUCU, at some point it will dawn on Ireland that it is the EU that are going to make them put in a hard border, not the UK.

    What price solidarity then.

    I have no objections to “Customs Unions” per say, entirely depends on the terms.

    Turkey are still signing free trade deals with other countries, unlike if you’re in the EUCU proper. No free movement of people either, don’t Turks still have to have Visas to enter the EU?, so it can be done.

    Aug 02nd, 2018 - 05:32 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    Okay, I had assumed you would object to a customs union, since you said you wanted no political strings, and a customs union inherently comes with some (eg alignment with common customs tariff, harmonisation of commercial policy measures, approximation of customs law, and approximation of other laws (intellectual property, competition, taxation, ...)).

    Not sure how those Turkish trade deals work, although they only have a partial customs union and do have border checks, so it's not a perfect model for the UK. The real issue is that if tariffs are different on each side of the open border, there is no way to prevent smuggling of imports from 3rd countries, and that would rapidly become a serious problem.

    I think May's current plan (the one Boris resigned over) is for a partial customs union, with the EU and UK collecting tariffs for each other. It would require us to stick to EU standards, which for me as a consumer is a bonus, but would complicate deals with eg the US who want to be able to sell their currently illegal products here. The EU don't seem keen, but perhaps they'll agree for the sake of the border. May *can't* agree to their backstop, because the DUP would sink her immediately.

    The free movement is not a problem, at least in theory. Obviously we could not require a visa if we have an open border, so EU citizens would still be able to visit the UK, but they wouldn't be able to get a job, which I think is what Brexiters object to. On the other hand, the relationship would be asymmetric, as the EU could bar British citizens from visiting the Schengen zone for any reason. It's a very unsatisfactory situation.

    Anyway, now May has finally come up with an idea that's workable in principle, it's up to the EU to be more flexible. They can negotiate a customs union without agreeing to a free trade deal, and nothing is written in stone until everything is.

    Aug 02nd, 2018 - 06:28 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Pugol-H

    By political strings I mean free movement of people, accepting ECJ jurisdiction, paying contributions and getting EU directives. Harmonisation, tariff control etc etc are normal parts of trade deals. There is a big difference between mutual recognition of standards and required regulatory conformity.

    As I said “Doesn’t necessarily have to mirror the Turkish agreement either, that is just an example of a different arrangement”.

    As far as the EU is concerned moving from the EUCU with all that goes with it, to even a Turkish or even Ukraine type deal is simply to shed unwanted aspects of the EUCU and keep what you want, i.e. “cherry picking”.

    The difference being a “normal” trade deal only contains things both parties can agree upon, in the EUCU you have to accept everything whether you agree or not.

    Not a precedent the EU want to set, understandably, however their political problems are no reason for the UK to accept a lesser deal.

    The Chequers deal is dead, has been for a while now.

    “US who want to be able to sell their currently illegal products here” oh please, some reality here! Next you will be voting for Chavez.

    The head of US chicken producers Association when asked about “chlorine washed chicken” said “it’s one of a range of products we offer right up to 100% certified free range organic chicken, our business model is to supply what our customers want, conforming to whatever state or country regulations require, at a competitive price”.

    Could it be someone just doesn’t want the competition?

    Very doubtful the EU will offer any serious compromise at the moment, they clearly haven’t given up on trying to keep the UK in the EUCU, just yet.

    The DUP would sink her because they know the economic reality is NI cannot contemplate a “border in the Irish Sea”, under any circumstances. Actually neither can the ROI, so why are the EU even suggesting it?

    Free movement across the border is not a problem for UK or Irish citizens, because of the “common travel area

    Aug 03rd, 2018 - 05:50 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Pogul-X

    agreement” from way before the EU. What will apply in future for EU citizens is yet to be decided.

    “Workable” you say, hmmm, not the word I would used, I have to say.

    Don’t hold your breath waiting for that “flexibility”, for the “cherry picking” reasons outlined above.

    Aug 03rd, 2018 - 05:51 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    Free movement of people is a bit more than a political string, but in practice harmonisation of regulations and tariff control would mean the UK accepting whatever the EU decides, while giving up our say in them. However, that's pretty much the only option now if we really want no customs border anywhere.

    It doesn't have to mirror the Turkish agreement, but the problem is that to have an open border it would have to be a more restrictive deal than the Turkish one, not less.

    I don't think the EU should worry so much about a precedent, as any deal we can do is bound to be highly disadvantageous, and outrage all the hard Brexiters. However, it's clear the EU are willing and able to go through a hard Brexit, and it's looking more and more likely. Amazing how all the worst predictions are coming true.

    As for the DUP, they are definitely a party where ideology trumps economic considerations, even if they were quick enough when it came to screwing £1bn out of the government. They wouldn't agree to the border between GB and NI even if it was by far the best option economically, which it isn't. Clearly either border option would be bad for NI, but Ireland would benefit if the border is on our side. It's probably another reason they are pushing for that option, on top of not wanting the hard border themselves.

    My prediction for travel is we will need this new visa-thingy to visit anywhere in Europe except Ireland, whereas all EU citizens will continue to enjoy visa free travel to the UK. They will ban British citizens with a criminal record from entering, and we will not be able to ban anyone we can't currently.

    As for the US products, you're not going to claim chlorine chicken, hormone-fed beef and unlabelled GM products are currently legal in Britain, I assume? And you know the US spent 20 years fighting the beef ban in the WTO? Farm products are a major export for America and are absolutely something they would want to include in a trade deal.

    Aug 03rd, 2018 - 09:40 pm - Link - Report abuse 0

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