Continued from previous pageO’Sullivan added that it was the EU’s desire to leave agriculture out of negotiations and the United States’ desire to leave automobiles out of negotiations.
He mentioned that Trump and Juncker agreed to hold off on any additional tariffs while their governments continue to progress in trade negotiations, adding that any U.S. actions to impose tariffs on European automobiles “would basically break off those talks, but we don’t believe that that is going to happen.”
Speaking before O’Sullivan, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, noted Defense Secretary James Mattis’ opposition to the current round of Section 232 national security tariffs on steel and aluminum, and anticipated an “even more forthright response” from the Defense Department regarding the proposition of Section 232 tariffs on automobiles, as the Trump administration finishes its ongoing investigation.
Congress is “intensely interested” in agriculture being included in talks, Portman said, adding that such provisions could cover areas including tariffs and sanitary/phytosanitary barriers. He also noted that the EU maintains a trade surplus with the U.S. in agriculture, even while the U.S. maintains a sort of comparative advantage on commodities including beef, pork and poultry.
Responding to a question noting that senior EU leaders repeatedly have stated that they don’t want agriculture to be included in talks, Portman said, “We’ll see” if that position will be maintained.