United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced on July 26 that Washington and Brussels will “immediately resolve” their dispute over US steel and aluminium tariffs and subsequent EU counter-measures.
One day earlier in Washington, US President Donald Trump and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker announced a truce in their trade war.
The agreement was short on details, but Mnuchin made clear the primary source of the aggravation would be addressed.
“The first issue that we’ll begin negotiating is… the issue on the steel and aluminium tariffs and retaliatory tariffs,” Mnuchin said on CNBC.
“We have the groundwork laid and I hope to resolve that very quickly.”
As reported by the Agence France-Presse (AFP), Brussels had hit back at the US over the metals tariffs by imposing duties on more than $3bn of US goods, including blue jeans, bourbon and motorcycles, as well as orange juice, rice and corn.
Mnuchin also confirmed that the US would not impose threatened auto tariffs on European cars while negotiations were still ongoing. That would head off another round of EU tariffs threatened on $20bn in US exports.
He reiterated that Trump and Juncker agreed that as long as negotiations continue, “there will be no new tariffs in either direction”.
The US and EU account for about $1 trillion in transatlantic trade.
According to AFP, Trump also won a commitment from Juncker to work together to reform the World Trade Organization to address some of his complaints about China on theft of US technology, the behaviour of state-owned enterprises, and overcapacity in steel.