The Strategist

France opposes trade agreement between the EU and the US

07/26/2018 - 16:17

France is opposing conclusion of a comprehensive trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and the US, but still wants maintains a dialogue on trade issues with US partners. The Minister of Economy and Finances of the country Bruno Le Maire told this the AFP.

Bruno Le Maire. Photo by APCMA France
Bruno Le Maire. Photo by APCMA France
"We do not want to enter into negotiations on a certain big agreement, we saw restrictions on this with the example of the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership)," the Minister said, recalling that the negotiations between the US and EU under the TTIP agreement reached an impasse two years ago.

As Le Maire stressed, for France, protection of the national agro-industrial complex remains one of the key issues in possible negotiations on easing the customs regime between Europe and the US remains. The Minister pointed out that agriculture "should remain out of discussions" on lifting the customs barriers between the two continents. "We have our high sanitary, food and environmental standards and production rules, to which we are attached, since they guarantee protection and safety for our consumers," the head of the French Ministry of Economy said.

According to him, Europeans also want to have access to American trading floors, which are now "largely closed" for players from the Old World. "Access to US state-owned trading floors should also be one of the issues for discussion," he said.

At the same time, Le Maire stated that Paris is supporting attempts to establish a dialogue on trade issues between the US and Europe. "France has always said that trade war should be avoided because there are no winners, so it will be good to return to dialogue with the Americans on trade issues. However, a constructive discussion can only be built on a clear basis and cannot be conducted under pressure," head of the French Ministry of Economics said.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission (EC), held talks in Washington on July 25 with US President Donald Trump. He said that the EU agrees with the position of the United States on a number of issues and believes that much in trade relations needs to be changed.

In particular, Juncker said that the parties agreed to "not introduce new tariffs as long as the negotiations are going on."

The United States and the EU agreed to begin work on the abolition of mutual duties and trade barriers, as well as the establishment of a working group to address trade issues and assess existing tariffs. The European Union agreed to increase imports from the United States of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and agricultural products, in particular, soybeans.