Thursday

21st Nov 2019

Germany hopes for quick EU-US trade deal

  • Trump, having called Merkel's policies 'insane' earlier, now praised the German chancellor as 'brilliant' (Photo: g7.gc.ca)

Germany wants the EU to reach a trade agreement with the US as quickly as possible, German chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters on Monday (26 August).

"We want to come as quickly as possible to an agreement between the European Union and the United States because this is obviously of very great interest also to us, to enhance the trade relations between the EU and the US," Merkel said at a press conference with US president Donald Trump on the sidelines of a summit of G7 leaders in Biarritz.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 year's of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

"We've said we want to bring this as quickly as possible to a successful solution," the chancellor said, adding: "Germany is going to work resolutely for this."

Trump said they had discussed an EU trade deal and that he hoped there would be no need to impose tariffs on German car exports. He added that the EU is "tough" on trade and the US has lost a lot of money because of that.

"We're very close to maybe making a deal with the EU because they don't want tariffs," Trump said, adding: "I think we're going to make a deal with the EU without having to go that route."

As Germany's economy shows signs of a coming recession, with business confidence plunging to its lowest level in seven years, the European economic export-reliant powerhouse is keen to avoid tariffs on its car industry.

Talks between European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and Trump last summer avoided a tariff war between the bloc and the US, and the two agreed to work towards a common trade agreement.

Since then discussions have moved slowly amid disagreements over whether to include agricultural products in the deal.

EU member states have given a mandate to the EU commission to start talks on eliminating tariffs for industrial goods in April, overcoming French reluctance on that front.

However, the US ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland, has warned that the US will not sign up to any trade deal with the EU unless agricultural goods are included.

The issue puts Germany and France at odds over the US trade deal.

The US administration could decide as early as November to impose painful auto tariffs, making the issue a top priority for incoming commission president Ursula von der Leyen.

German visit

Despite criticising Merkel's migration policies as "insane" and refusing to shake her hand in the chancellor's first Washington visit after the US elections, Trump this time praised the German leader.

"She's a brilliant woman and she understands exactly where everything is. She knows before most people," Trump said, adding that Merkel wanted to see the trade deal done.

Merkel seemed to have been surprised by Trump's announcement at the press conference that he will soon visit Germany, although the chancellor had invited the president on previous occasions.

After Trump's announcement, the mayor of the hometown of Trump's grandparents, Kallstadt, showed little enthusiasm for the US president, however.

"If he comes, then he comes, if he doesn't then he doesn't. Until then, our church clock will keep ticking as usual," mayor Thomas Jaworek said Monday, according to the DPA news agency.

EU hesitates to back France over US tariff threat

France has passed a new tax on tech companies that will affect US global giants like Facebook. Donald Trump has threatened retaliatory tariffs over it. The EU commission says it will "coordinate closely with French" on the next steps.

Trump keeps EU leaders waiting on tariffs

European leaders postponed their reaction to US announcement that the EU would be exempted from tariffs on steel and aluminium. "The devil is often in the details", said the Belgian PM.

Tusk pledges 'fight' for EU values as new EPP president

The outgoing president of the EU council, Donald Tusk, is set to be elected as the president of the centre-right European People's Party (EPP). Tusk will have to deal with the final decision over Hungary's ruling Fidesz.

Wilmès becomes first female PM of Belgium

On Sunday, Sophie Wilmès was appointed as the new prime minister of Belgium - becoming the first female head of government in the country's history. She replaces Charles Michel who becomes president of the European Council.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  3. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  5. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  6. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  7. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  9. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021

Latest News

  1. New calls for Muscat to resign over journalist's murder
  2. Tusk pledges 'fight' for EU values as new EPP president
  3. Don't lead Europe by triggering its fears
  4. Finland: EU 'not brain dead' on enlargement
  5. The labour market is not ready for the future
  6. Parliament should have 'initiation' role
  7. AI skewed to young, male, and western EU, report warns
  8. US and EU go separate ways on Israeli settlers

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us