EU trade chief Hogan returns to Washington as auto tariffs loom

Trade commissioner Phil Hogan meets Senator Charles 'Chuck' Grassley (R-IA), Chairman, Senate Finance Committee on Capitol Hill Washington, DC on Wednesday January 15, 2020 [European Commission/Tasos Katopodis.]

European Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan returned to Washington on Thursday (6 Febrero) for talks with US counterpart Robert Lighthizer designed to improve transatlantic ties as the threat of auto tariffs looms.

Hogan first visited the US as EU trade chief three weeks ago, declaring at the time that the European Union’s bid to reset EU-US economic relations had got off to a good start.

However, US President Donald Trump said after meeting European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen in Davos a week later that he would impose tariffs on imports of cars from the European Union if no trade deal were struck.

Hogan had been due to address a conference on the digital economy in Brussels on Thursday morning but abruptly changed his plans.

A European Commission spokesman said Hogan would hold talks in Washington with a number of US administration officials, including Lighthizer.

“These meetings are part of the regular bilateral contacts being held at technical and political level in the framework of the discussions for a positive bilateral transatlantic trade agenda, launched by the European Union and the United States in July 2018,” the spokesman said.

In July 2018, Trump agreed to hold off on imposing car tariffs while Washington and Brussels discussed ways to improve economic ties. The EU has since agreed to boost imports of soybeans, liquefied natural gas and beef from the United States.

Von der Leyen and Trump fine tune transatlantic relations in Davos

European Commission president Ursula Von der Leyen met US President Donald Trump in Davos on Tuesday (21 January) and vowed to move forward the transatlantic agenda after a period of tense relations and trade threats between the two allies.

Subscribe to our newsletters