EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström told reporters yesterday that the scope of trade negotiation with the US was not agreed upon yet. But she emphasized that “we have made very clear agriculture will not be included.” In the mean time, EU also haven’t got assurance from the US on holding off auto tariffs during the trade negotiation. But Malmström believed EU won’t be affected while talks were ongoing.
Malmström made the comments after meeting Japanese Minister of the Economy Hiroshige Seko and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Washington yesterday, in preparation for another meeting later this week regarding WTO reforms.
European Commission is currently preparing two mandates for trade negotiations with the US. One is for removal of tariffs of industrial goods. Another one is on areas of possible regulatory cooperation in areas such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices and cyber security. The mandates will first have to go through European Commission approval, and then the 28 members of EU states. There is no set time line for the preparation yet.
Separately, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley warned that “I don’t know how anybody in Europe that wants a free trade agreement with us can expect it to get through the US Senate if you don’t want to negotiate agriculture.”