The U.S. and European Union are staking out sharply different goals for coming trade negotiations, raising the prospect for renewed trans-Atlantic commercial tensions.
The EU’s executive body will meet Tuesday to firm up the bloc’s parameters for talks expected to launch later this year. It is crafting a narrow mandate that would bar negotiations to reduce protections for Europe’s farmers.
“We have been very clear that from the EU side that we will not discuss agriculture,” European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said last week after meeting in Washington with her American counterpart, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
Two days after that meeting, Mr. Lighthizer released the Trump administration’s “negotiating objectives” for the coming talks, declaring that a top priority is to “secure comprehensive market access for U.S. agricultural goods in the EU by reducing or eliminating tariffs.”
The 14-page document also calls for eliminating “non-tariff barriers” on U.S. agricultural products on the continent.
Influential U.S. lawmakers are also pushing back against Brussels’ determination to wall-off discussions about opening its food market.