The European Commission threatens to retaliate with sanctions if the US does not lift ‘unjustified’ tariffs.
The European Union wants to forge a new alliance with the United States to bury the tensions of the Trump era and meet the challenges posed by China, the Financial Times (FT) newspaper reported, citing a draft plan.
The plan proposes rebuilding ties, with common fronts on issues ranging from digital regulation to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, the FT said.
Relations between the US and Europe have been strained under President Donald Trump. The EU and most of the bloc’s states have congratulated President-elect Joe Biden following the November 3 election.
“As open democratic societies and market economies, the EU and the US agree on the strategic challenge presented by China’s growing international assertiveness, even if we do not always agree on the best way to address this,” the FT cited the draft plan as saying.
The plan, which will be submitted for endorsement by national leaders at a meeting on December 10-11, proposed the launch of a new transatlantic agenda in an EU-US summit in the first half of 2021, the newspaper added.
Earlier in November, the EU imposed tariffs on up to $4bn of US imports in retaliation for US subsidies for Boeing but said it was hopeful of an improvement in trade ties under Biden.
EU trade chief Valdis Dombrovskis earlier said the European Commission, which coordinates trade policy for the 27 EU member states, had made some informal contacts with the Biden team.
The draft paper, prepared by the Commission, says the EU-US partnership needs “maintenance and renewal” if the democratic world is to assert its interests against “authoritarian powers” and “closed economies [that] exploit the openness our own societies depend on”, according to the FT.
Under Trump, the US has been reluctant to coordinate its response to China with the EU, frustrating many in Brussels, and has even imposed its own trade measures against the EU.
The paper says: “As open democratic societies and market economies, the EU and the US agree on the strategic challenge presented by China’s growing international assertiveness, even if we do not always agree on the best way to address this.”
It proposes the EU and US join forces to shape the digital regulatory environment, including by adopting common approaches to antitrust enforcement and data protection, cooperating on screening of sensitive foreign investments, and working together to fight threats to cybersecurity.
Other parts of the paper call for cooperation on the development and dissemination of COVID-19 vaccines and joint work to reform the World Health Organization.