Biden meets EU leaders as lingering trade tensions simmer

World Tuesday 15/June/2021 17:42 PM
By: DW
Biden meets EU leaders as lingering trade tensions simmer

US President Joe Biden was seeking support in Brussels on Tuesday as he meets European Union leaders ahead of a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

European leaders are eager for a truce in trade wars that began under the Donald Trump administration, as well as a 17-year-long aircraft subsidy dispute.

What is likely to be discussed?

Biden is set to meet European Council President Charles Michel, who represents EU member states, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

The US president has been keen to marshal European support for his efforts to counter Russia ahead of his Wednesday meeting with Putin in Geneva.

Both the US and Russian leaders have described relations between their countries as being at their lowest point in years.

European officials are keen to set up a "high-level dialogue" with the US about Russia, to counter what they claim is Moscow's authoritarianism and anti-Western sentiment.

The EU-US meeting is expected to include a communique that will address concerns about China's perceived provocative behavior.

The document would follow a NATO summit communique that declared China a constant security challenge, saying that the Chinese were working to undermine the global rules-based order.

An end to niggling trade disputes?

European leaders are impatient that Biden as president has not yet addressed Trump's 2018 decision to impose import taxes on foreign steel and aluminum.

As the meeting went ahead, there was an interim solution to a longstanding dispute over the fairness of government subsidies that each side provides for its aircraft manufacturing giants — Boeing in the US and the EU's Airbus. The 17-year dispute has seen tariffs imposed by both sides.

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said a deal had been reached to suspend import duties for 5 years. She said the said the levies could be re-implemented if US companies were not able to "compete fairly" with those in Europe.

Biden began his day with a meeting with Belgian King Philippe and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo.