U.S., EU to Create Action Plan on Trade
The U.S. and the European Union reportedly agreed May 25 to pursue a joint action plan on trade. The two sides also signaled possible cooperation in efforts against “unfair competition.”
Few details are yet available on the scope or objectives of the action plan, which was not included in a Trump administration statement on the outcome of a meeting in Brussels between President Trump, European Council President Donald Tusk, and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Given that Trump has made addressing trade deficits one of the primary goals of his trade policy, and that the U.S. deficit with the EU is one of its largest, the U.S. could seek to use the action plan to boost exports to, or reduce imports from, the EU.
The action plan could also address the future of U.S.-EU trade relations. Negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership were suspended in 2016, and Trump’s avowed preference for bilateral rather than multilateral free trade agreements makes it seem unlikely those talks will be revived in the near future. Trump has praised the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the EU, and according to Inside US Trade he and UK Prime Minister Theresa May reaffirmed their commitment to a post-Brexit trade deal in a May 26 meeting. However, other press reports said Trump expressed concern to Tusk and Juncker that Brexit could cost U.S. jobs. A White House statement said only that the US and EU agreed that they should “deepen [their] strong economic relationship.”