EU Member States authorize the European Commission to start negotiations with the United States on a limited free trade agreement. That is what the EU ambassadors have agreed in Brussels. The mandate for EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström still needs to be approved at ministerial level. That happens according to EU sources on Monday.
The purpose of the mandate is to reach an agreement on the removal of trade barriers and the reduction of tariffs on industrial products.
Trade tensions between the EU and the US flared up earlier this week, after President Donald Trump had threatened with import duties on EU goods, including Gouda and Edam cheese, in response to European subsidies for aircraft manufacturer Airbus. The EU has previously excluded agriculture from the negotiations, but Malmström wants to talk about car rates.
The relations between Brussels and Washington are already under pressure due to the taxes that Trump imposed on foreign steel and aluminum last year. The EU immediately took counter-measures.