Joe Biden puts EU in crosshairs: Brussels pleads with US over ‘Buy American’ scheme

Biden ‘will understand EU is breaking Belfast agreement' says expert

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Brussels trade boss Valdis Dombrovskis wants to extend the four-month period agreed last month to send a signal to Washington that eurocrats are ready to compromise to end the 16-year-old dispute over aircraft subsidies. He told the Der Spiegel news magazine: “We have proposed suspending all mutual tariffs for six months in order to reach a negotiated solution. This would create a necessary breathing space for industries and workers on both sides of the Atlantic.”

Last month, Brussels and Washington agreed to suspend all US tariffs on £5.4 billion of EU imports and EU levies on £2.9 billion US products until July.

The trade tariffs were imposed as part of the long-running World Trade Organisation spat over subsidies for aircraft manufacturers Airbus and Boeing.

Washington has imposed tariffs on European products, such as wine, cheese and olive oil, as well as a 15-percent levy on Airbus.

In retaliation, Brussels imposed additional duties on traditional American products like bourbon whiskey, Levi Jeans, tobacco products and Boeing.

But there are still no signs US President Joe Biden is willing to make a move to end the row for good.

He has adopted a “Buy American” policy to ensure public contracts are handed exclusively to American firms.

Mr Dombrovskis revealed Brussels is watching the US laws closely to ensure free-trade rules are respected.

“Our goal is to push for procurement markets that are as open as possible all over the world.”

Brussels is keen to reset trade relations with Washington after Donald Trump operated an anti-EU policy.

The former president repeatedly clashed with top eurocrats and national governments over tax, trade and defence spending.

President Biden last month said the “transatlantic alliance is back” in a speech to EU leaders.

But he appears to be more focused on countering authoritarian powers, like China, before moving on to settle EU-US differences over trade.

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Brussels infuriated the White House’s top team by brokering an investment deal with Beijing weeks before President Biden took office.

It was the first time an American leader had held talks with EU leaders together since Barack Obama in 2009.

The EU is planning to put a lot of effort into resetting transatlantic relations in the coming months.

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Speaking after a recent leaders summit, EU Parliament president David Sassoli said: “The previous administration was committed to dividing Europe and dividing the US from Europe.

“Had we been able to tackle the pandemic together we would now have been stronger.

“Transatlantic relations are extremely important and this now needs to be relaunched.”

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