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EU trade chief urges reset in US relationship amid tensions

WASHINGTON — EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan is urging the Trump administration to “refresh” and “r..

WASHINGTON — EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan is urging the Trump administration to “refresh” and “recalibrate” its trade relationship with the European Union so that they can confront challenges including the rise of China and the overhaul of the World Trade Organization.

“If we go at this in the right way and working together, the mutual benefits will be very significant,” Hogan said Thursday during remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank. “But if we fail to do this, the damage will be very significant also.”

Hogans three-day U.S. visit comes at a crucial moment in the bilateral trade relationship, as Trump officials are considering new tariffs in two disputes that could seriously weaken ties between the European trading bloc and its biggest trading partner.

The Trump administration is weighing whether to increase retaliatory duties on $7.5 billion worth of European airplanes, cheese, wine and other goods in a dispute over subsidies for Airbus. Tariffs ranging from 10 to 25 percent are already in place on those goods, but the U.S. could raise them as high as 100 percent after the World Trade Organization ruled Brussels was not doing enough to end its use of subsidies.

In a separate case, U.S. officials are deciding whether to impose 100 percent tariffs on $2.4 billion worth of French goods as part of a dispute over the countrys digital services tax.

Hogan criticized the United States decision to slap duties in the long-running aircraft case, saying that move means the EU has no choice but to retaliate with penalties of its own. But he also called for a negotiated solution that would allow both sides to “leave these disputes behind us.”

On the digital services tax issue, Hogan reiterated that the EU will respond proportionately if the United States slaps unilateral tariffs on French goods.

He emphasized that the EU would prefer to see a solution worked out through ongoing talks at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, but said member countries would have a right to proceed on their own if no deal can be reached there.

“The EU fully supports the discussions taking place at OECD level on a global digital services tax. But we have been equally clear that we have no option but to regulate on our own if the U.S. blocks a global agreementRead More – Source