The European Union’s ambassador to the United States called on US President Joe Biden’s administration to immediately lift tariffs imposed on steel and aluminum imports from the EU and to work to settle a longstanding dispute over aircraft subsidies.
Stavros Lambrinidis told an online event on Wednesday hosted by the US Chamber of Commerce, that Brussels was ready to work with the United States to strengthen the transatlantic trade relationship and had no desire to erect a “Fortress Europe”.
He also called on the United States to help revive the defunct Appellate Body of the World Trade Organisation.
“There’s no interest … in becoming a Fortress Europe. This will never happen,” Lambrinidis said. “We are entirely ready to work with the United States on looking at trade around the world.”
Brussels has proposed the creation of a trade and technology council to tackle issues of concern, including cybersecurity threats, setting standards for artificial intelligence, export controls and investment screening, he said.
He said the EU was also keen to work closely with the new Biden administration on issues such as climate change, reviving the Iran nuclear accord, and rebuilding multilateral institutions such as the Geneva-based WTO trade body.
No firm date has been set for the US Senate confirmation hearing for Biden’s nominee for the top trade position, Katherine Tai.
Lambrinidis said Brussels was ready to immediately lift its own retaliatory tariffs if the United States removed the Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum. Doing so would provide a big boost to many sectors in both regions, he added.
On the issue of support for European planemaker Airbus and its US rival Boeing, Lambrinidis said the EU had proposed freezing for at least six months the tariffs imposed by both sides to work on settling the dispute.
“China … today (is) building 100% subsidised aircraft that could flood the market in a few years’ time, and that is a real danger, a real strategic danger,” he added.