The United States is threatening to impose tariffs on European goods worth billions of dollars, intensifying a long-running dispute over aircraft subsidies. The US is responding to the EU allegedly providing subsidies to Airbus. The goods that the Americans are threatening to place tariffs on are worth about $11 billion every year to European countries, and range from Airbus jets to staples like wine, cheese and frozen fish.
But the EU’s Chairman of International Trade, Bernd Lange, has admitted that the negotiations with the US are not going well.
He even went so far as to tell Bloomberg that it was “not possible” to negotiate under the present circumstances.
The Bloomberg host told Mr Lange: “President Trump has said there will be more tariffs because the EU is unfair when it comes to subsidies for companies.
“At this point, do you think the EU needs to walk away from negotiations because of the trade tariffs and the threat of more?”
Mr Lange answered: “We made from the European side a lot of concessions.
“A lot of the steps in the direction of the United States, and now Trump announced additional tariffs on Roquefort and other products.
“So it’s, I think, not possible to negotiate under the circumstances.
“We should be really on a base of cooperation not of confrontation.”
Asking again if the EU would take initiative and leave, Mr Lange meekly responded: “No, not to walk out – to talk.
“But really start negotiations.
“Under these circumstances, I think that’s not possible – we need some concessions, some signals from the US side.”
Meanwhile, Theresa May has arrived in Berlin to ask German Chancellor Angela Merkel to back her case for a delay to Brexit at a crunch EU summit on Wednesday.
The Prime Minister will then fly to Paris, where she faces the tougher task of winning the support of French President Emmanuel Macron, who has warned in recent days that an extension to the Article 50 withdrawal process is not guaranteed.
The visits came as the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said Brussels could amend the Political Declaration on future relations with the UK “within a few hours or days” to incorporate the customs union arrangement being discussed in cross-party talks between the Government and Labour.