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European Council rep: Talks possible while Trump tariffs in place

23 Июля 2018

European Union finance chief Pierre Moscovici has said that the bloc is willing to build bridges in the ongoing trade dispute with the US.

Finance Minister Taro Aso said he criticized the United States at the meeting for its recent spate of moves to increase tariffs on a broad range of imports, telling his G20 counterparts, "Inward-looking policies would benefit no country".

The statement demanded G20 members "step up dialogue and actions to mitigate risks and enhance confidence". "Trade tensions remain high and they threaten to escalate further".

Trump's protectionist policies have come under fire from all sides at the summit, which groups finance ministers and central bankers from the world's 20 largest economies.

Since then, the United States and China have slapped tariffs on $34 billion of each other's imports and U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened further tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods unless Beijing agrees to change its intellectual property practices and high-technology industrial subsidy plans.

However he added: "Any time they want to sit down and negotiate meaningful changes, I and our team are available".

FILE - Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin talks with reporters outside the White House, May 21, 2018, in Washington.

"That's why EU President Jean-Claude Juncker and EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom will meet with Trump" in Washington D.C. next week, he said.

The Chinese delegation did not speak to media at the G20 meeting.

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New tariffs imposed by Washington on its largest trading partners and retaliatory measures by China, the European Union and Canada have shaken financial markets and raised the specter of reduced global growth.

The reality of a trade war has arrived, according to Bruno Le Maire, the French finance minister, speaking as G20 ministers gathered for a summit in Argentina.

"My message is pretty clear, it's the same message the President delivered at the G-7: If Europe believes in free trade, we're ready to sign a free trade agreement with no tariffs, no non-tariff barriers and no subsidies". Morneau cautioned however, that such a feat, while an "aspirational target", might be hard to pull off in real life.

"We believe that targeting us is certainly inappropriate. and that we must act with the U.S. as allies - not foes but allies", added Moscovici.

Mr Trump has angered European allies by imposing import tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium, causing the EU to retaliate with similar amounts of tariffs on Harley-Davidson motorcycles and other products.

Mnuchin said he did not feel isolated at the G20, holding numerous bilateral meetings with officials, and arguing that Trump's trade stance was not based on protectionism, but on trying to make trade fairer.

"While all countries will ultimately be worse off in a trade conflict, the US economy is especially vulnerable", IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde wrote in a blog post."Policymakers can use this G20 meeting to move past self-defeating tit-for-tat tariffs".

"Americans and Europeans are allies, we cannot understand how us, Europeans, can be affected by United States trade tariffs", he said.

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European Council rep: Talks possible while Trump tariffs in place