Pittsburgh / Brussels (dpa) – The EU wants to seek closer transatlantic economic cooperation in spite of the severe disappointment with the latest US actions on security issues.
According to information from the EU Council of Ministers on Wednesday all 27 member states approved a declaration for the first meeting of a new European-American trade and technology council. The meeting is to begin in the late afternoon of European time in the US metropolis of Pittsburgh and give the go-ahead for better cooperation. The reason is the European horror that Washington has negotiated a new security pact for the Indo-Pacific region with the UK and Australia behind the back of the EU in the past few months. In particular, the government in Paris is furious because the alliance called Aukus also canceled a 56 billion euro submarine contract between Australia and France.
Faced with the anger France even questioned whether the Pittsburgh meeting should even take place as planned. The country only approved the text for the final declaration on Wednesday after making corrections. In addition, France forced to change a positively worded sentence on mutual dependencies in the production of semiconductors. It wanted to make it clear that after the recent breach of trust, the EU should strive for significantly greater independence from its partner on the other side of the Atlantic Intelligence as one of the main topics on the agenda of the meeting. According to the text for the final declaration, the delivery bottlenecks are to be eliminated through closer cooperation, among other things. Specifically, it is also about reducing the current dependency on products from Asia and especially from China. The shortage of semiconductors has recently led, among other things, to numerous car manufacturers not being able to produce as desired.
The Trade and Technology Council was at an EU-US summit in June by EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the US President Joe Biden – also to leave behind conflicts that arose during the term of office of Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump. For example, there are plans for closer cooperation on technology standards and closer coordination in the action against unfair trade practices by countries such as China. For companies from Germany and many other EU countries, the US market is still one of the most important worldwide.
German business representatives therefore appealed to those involved to make the talks a success. “For German companies, the reduction of trade disputes, the prevention of new conflicts and a positive transatlantic trade agenda are of great importance,” warned the President of the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Peter Adrian.
From the Association of German Machines – And plant engineering, it was said that the Trade and Technology Council represented a “historic opportunity” to finally tackle important issues in transatlantic economic relations together again. This also includes the abolition of the US steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by Biden’s predecessor Trump and the restoration of a functioning dispute settlement mechanism at the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The President of the Association of the Automotive Industry, Hildegard Müller, demanded the USA also to fairness. “Current proposals that would only allow the promotion of electric mobility for vehicles manufactured in the USA contradict the spirit of free trade and hinder the ramp-up of this important future technology,” she commented. BDI President Siegfried Russwurm spoke out in favor of integrating German business into the work of the Council. The four central associations stand ready to make their contribution to strengthening transatlantic economic relations.
For the USA, Foreign Minister Antony Blinken, Trade Minister Gina Raimondo and Trade Representative Katherine Tai are expected at the first meeting of the Council. The EU Vice-President Margrethe Vestager and her colleague Valdis Dombrovskis have traveled to the USA for the EU. Both had recently promoted the talks intensively with the 27 EU member states. Strategic alliances are about developing common approaches and also overcoming difficulties, they declared after the decision to reject the French request to postpone the meeting.
At the same time, Dombrovskis admitted that it would be after the Disappointment about dealing with the new defense alliance Aukus now has some repair work to do.