European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström went to Washington yesterday to meet with President Trump.
In their discussions, they reaffirmed the importance of a strong transatlantic relationship for the European Union, for the United States, and for global trade.
This meeting made it possible, first of all, to avoid a trade war. Indeed, it was agreed to establish a joint working group to allow the EU and the U.S. to work together to strengthen their trade relations. Obviously, that means not considering unilateral measures that would counter this objective. A commitment was also made to reassess the measures adopted by the United States on steel and aluminum and European counter-measures. We support the scaling down of tensions made possible by the determination and unity shown by the EU in recent weeks.
The meeting also provided an opportunity to share a clear observation, i.e., that it is in our common interest to work toward reforming the WTO so that it may promote open, fair, rules-based global trade.
We will ensure that these discussions are fully in line with the progressive European trade policy that we support and that they respect our strict environmental and health standards. We will also ensure that agricultural issues remain outside of the field of these discussions, as the Commission pledged. Indeed, in no case are we undertaking the negotiation of a comprehensive trade agreement. It is on this basis that we will continue discussions with the Commission and our European partners. The EU’s unity will be a crucial factor in the months to come.
The minister and minister of state who represent France at the Council of Ministers will act accordingly.