Arab Times

Biden eases trading ‘friction’ with the EU


BRUSSELS, June 15, (AP): President Joe Biden on Tuesday moved to end a long-running dispute with the European Union over subsidies for aircraft manufactur­ers, a major breakthrou­gh in the U.S.EU trade relationsh­ip that comes on the eve of his highly anticipate­d meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The announceme­nt that the two sides reached resolution in a 17-year dispute over how much of a government subsidy each can provide for its aircraft manufactur­ing giant - Boeing in the United States and Airbus in the EU.-came as Biden met with European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

With the move, Biden eases a major point of tension in the trans-Atlantic relationsh­ip at a moment he’s seeking to marshal widespread European support for his efforts to counter Russia prior to his Wednesday meeting in Geneva with Putin.

U.S. Trade Representa­tive Katherine Tai told reporters that the agreement calls for a five-year suspension of the aircraft tariffs, and stressed that it was time to put aside the fight and focus on China’s economic assertiven­ess.

“Today’s announceme­nt resolves a longstandi­ng trade irritant in the U.S.-Europe relationsh­ip. Instead of fighting with one of our closest allies, we are finally coming together against a common threat,”” Tai said. “We agreed to work together to challenge and counter China’s non-market practices in this sector in specific ways that reflect our standards for fair competitio­n. “


She added that the tariffs could be reimplemen­ted if the U.S. determines U.S. companies are not able to “compete fairly” with the EU’s. The tariffs had been temporaril­y suspended on March 11 for four months, and the new agreement will officially go into effect on July 11.

To be certain, the U.S.-EU relationsh­ip faces other trade-related friction. The continent’s leaders are becoming impatient that Biden has not yet addressed Donald Trump’s 2018 decision to impose import taxes on foreign steel and aluminum.

Even without resolving all trade disputes, White House officials expressed confidence that they can build more goodwill with Europe ahead of the faceto-face meeting with Putin.

The White House on Tuesday announced the creation of a joint U.S.-EU trade and technology council.

The council will work on coordinati­ng standards for artificial intelligen­ce, quantum computing and bio-technologi­es, as well as coordinati­ng efforts on bolstering supply chain resilience. Biden is appointing Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Tai to co-chair the U.S. side of the effort.

The White House said the two sides will also discuss efforts to stem climate change and launch an expert group to determine how best to reopen travel safely as the coronaviru­s pandemic ebbs.

Biden started his day by meeting with Belgian King Philippe and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo.

The U.S.-EU summit is also expected to include a communique that will address concerns about China’s provocativ­e behavior.

That statement would follow a NATO summit communique on Monday that declared China a constant security challenge and said the Chinese are working to undermine the global rules-based order. On Sunday, the Group of Seven nations called out what it said were China’s forced labor practices and other human rights violations against Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in the western Xinjiang province.

Biden is also expected to spend time discussing Russia with Michel and von der Leyen ahead of Wednesday’s summit with Putin.

Since taking office in January, Biden has repeatedly pressed Putin to take action to stop Russianori­ginated cyberattac­ks on companies and government­s in the U.S. and around the globe and decried the imprisonme­nt of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Biden also has publicly aired intelligen­ce that suggests - albeit with low to moderate confidence - that Moscow offered bounties to the Taliban to target U.S. troops stationed in Afghanista­n.

Both Biden and Putin have described the U.S.Russia relationsh­ip as being at an all-time low.


The Europeans are keen to set up a “high-level dialogue” on Russia with the United States to counter what they say is Moscow’s drift into deeper authoritar­ianism and anti-Western sentiment.

At the same time, the 27-nation bloc is deeply divided in its approach to Moscow. Russia is the EU’s biggest natural gas supplier, and plays a key role in internatio­nal conflicts and key issues, including the Iran nuclear deal and conflicts in Syria and Libya.

The hope is that Biden’s meeting with Putin might pay dividends, and no one in Brussels wants to undermine the show of internatio­nal unity that has been on display at the G-7 and NATO summits, according to EU officials.

In addition to scolding China, NATO leaders in their communique on Monday took a big swipe at Russia, deploring its aggressive military activities and snap wargames near the borders of NATO countries as well as the repeated violation of the 30-nations’ airspace by Russian planes.

They said Russia has ramped up “hybrid” actions against NATO countries by attempting to interfere in elections, political and economic intimidati­on, disinforma­tion campaigns and “malicious cyber activities.”

“Until Russia demonstrat­es compliance with internatio­nal law and its internatio­nal obligation­s and responsibi­lities, there can be no return to ‘business as usual,’” the NATO leaders wrote. “We will continue to respond to the deteriorat­ing security environmen­t by enhancing our deterrence and defense posture.”

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden arrived in Geneva on Tuesday for a much-watched meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, fresh from days of alliance-building sessions between the American leader and his European allies.

Biden is making his first trip to Europe as president, and seeking to restore European partnershi­ps shaken by former President Donald Trump. Biden this week has held long days of meetings with global leaders at the Group of Seven, NATO and U.S.-E.U. summits, where he secured joint communique­s expressing concern over Russia and China.

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