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November 20, 2019

The EU wants arbitration role in the US-China trade dispute

Valdis DombrovskisThe European Union (EU) can help resolving the trade dispute between the US and China. This was stated by the two Vice-Presidents of the European Commission (EC) Jyrki Katainen and Valdis Dombrovskis. Instead of participating in the conflict, the EU can use its role as the world’s largest market to support international trade rules and put pressure on the application of unilateral duties such as those of US President Donald Trump.

“The EU is trying to settle or stabilize the current situation”, said the EU Commissioner for Employment and Growth, Jyrki Katainen. According to him, there must be cooperation with both Washington and Beijing.

His colleague, Dombrovski, said that the EU’s role is not to take sides but to respect the rules.

“If there are trade disputes – and there are always trade disputes, they have to be resolved within the framework of the World Trade Organization”, said Valdis Dombrovskis.

The European leaders are stepping up their efforts to avoid a full-scale trade war between the two largest economies in the world. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron will visit Washington this month to hold talks with Trump before May 1, when the US authorities have to decide whether Europe will continue to be excluded from US duties on steel and aluminum.

According to Valdis Dombrovskis, the parties should not take unilateral action, which is a “cause of concern”.

However, European officials say there are some issues that need to be addressed, such as China’s overcapacity in steel production or concerns about the protection of intellectual property rights.

“It is very right what Trump said that the basic principle of trade should be reciprocal”, Jyrki Katainen. “That’s why we expect reciprocity from China, even though we understand it will not happen for one night”, added he.

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