Trade war averted for now between US, Europe

25 March, 2018, 01:14 | Author: Irvin Gilbert
  • Trade war averted for now between US, Europe

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told a Senate committee that Trump authorized a "pause" in the imposition of the tariffs, which take effect Friday, AFP reported. "And US President Donald Trump will demand a price for the tariff exclusion", Thilo Brodtman, head of Germany's VDMA engineering federation, said in a statement.

Under EU law, firms like Google and Facebook can choose to book their income in any member state, prompting them to pick low-tax nations like Ireland, the Netherlands or Luxembourg. "We were discussing this morning, that we want to ensure that that does become a permanent exemption for the European Union".

"We now look forward to pursuing a dialogue with the USA on trade issues of common concern, such as global steel overcapacity", EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem said in a tweet.

One senior European Union official described Lighthizer's announcement as "welcome, in line with our expectations", adding: "But we'll see whether this is officially confirmed".

"Companies engaged in digital activities, like all other companies, must share the tax burden needed to finance the public services on which they rely", the commission said in its communication prior to the European Union leaders' summit that begins on Thursday.

Malmstrom made the EU's case over two days in the United States, negotiating the carve-out with US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, a strong backer of Trump's "America First" policies.

The plans were also announced at a time when digital firms are under huge pressure over data protection - given the row now engulfing Facebook over alleged misuse.

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The likely climbdown came as Trump is expected to announce new sanctions against China, for the "theft" of USA intellectual property which Beijing has vowed to meet with tit-for-tat retaliation. "The devil is sometimes in the details".

Trump said South Korea was listed because of its important security relationship with the United States, "including our shared commitment to eliminating the North Korean nuclear threat".

"Whatever happens, Europe needs to show its will to dialogue with the US", said a French official.

EU leaders meeting in Brussels for the European Council summit on Thursday postponed issuing a formal statement on trade until Friday because they were still waiting for Trump's official statement on the exemption. "We now look forward to pursuing a dialogue with the U.S. on trade issues of common concern, such as global steel overcapacity", she said on Twitter.

The European Commission on Wednesday proposed rules to make digital companies pay more tax, with US tech giants such as Google (GOOGL.O), Facebook (FB.O) and Amazon (AMZN.O) set to foot a large chunk of a potential 5 billion euro ($6.1 billion) bill.

Europe says it wants to avert a trade war but the European Commission has proposed a series of measures if the White House hits EU producers. "We need to continue to work with the U.S.in a friendly manner".

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