PARIS (FRANCE) – The European Union and the new US administration should suspend a trade dispute to give themselves time to find common ground, said France’s foreign minister on Sunday.
“The issue that’s poisoning everyone is that of the price escalation and taxes on steel, digital technology, Airbus and more particularly our wine sector,” Jean-Yves Le Drian told in an interview.
“It may take time, but in the meantime, we can always order a moratorium,” he added.
At the end of December the US moved to increase tariffs on French and German aircraft parts, wines and other spirits in the Boeing-Airbus subsidy dispute, but the bloc decided to hold off on retaliation for now.
The EU is planning to present a World Trade Organization reform proposal in February and is willing to consider reforms to restrain the judicial authority of the WTO’s dispute-settlement body.
The United States has for years complained that the WTO Appellate Body makes unjustified new trade rules in its decisions and has blocked the appointment of new judges to stop this, rendering the body inoperable.
The Trump administration, which leaves office on Wednesday, had threatened to impose tariffs on French cosmetics, handbags and other goods in retaliation for France’s digital services tax, which it said discriminated against US tech firms.