EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmsträm on the U.S.-China Trade War
DER NewsGerman: Commissioner, do you know the German saying: When two are fighting, the third wins?
Malmström: Yes. nevertheless if you are alluding to the trade dispute between the U.S. as well as China, then This specific saying doesn’t fit. A trade war between the two countries doesn’t remain without consequences for Europe: Products get more expensive, markets react nervously as well as companies postpone investments. There’s no reason for us to be happy.
DER NewsGerman: Why doesn’t the EU join forces with U.S. President Donald Trump against China?
Malmström: With regard to China, we see many things within the same way as the U.S. does. We are defending ourselves against state-subsidized companies buying up our most creative companies, we are fighting against intellectual property theft as well as for greater transparency. We are working closely with the U.S. as well as Japan on This specific, for example when This specific comes to better monitoring Chinese investments in our countries.
DER NewsGerman: nevertheless you don’t want to join Trump in his threats of punitive tariffs?
Malmström: These aren’t our methods. The EU is usually a community based on the rule of law, as well as we abide by international rules. Trump, on the additional hand, is usually using the threat of massive tariffs to assert political goals. We expressly do not share This specific approach. China is usually an economic rival for us, nevertheless not a political enemy.
DER NewsGerman: Nevertheless, the EU’s approach to the Chinese has also become clearer recently — at the EU-China summit in April, for example. is usually This specific helping you that will the Chinese don’t want to risk a second front within the trade war?
Malmström: We want to cooperate with China in environmental protection as well as in business. nevertheless we are not abandoning our demands in terms of human rights or in any additional area. We want Chinese investment, nevertheless we will not naively stand by as well as watch China buy up key European industries.
DER NewsGerman: Will Europe also have to shed its naivety toward the Chinese Internet giant Huawei as well as, as Trump is usually demanding, prevent the company coming from building up 5G networks within the EU?
Malmström: Each EU member state decides on its own how to deal with Huawei. As the Commission, we can only make as well as coordinate recommendations. We are doing that will, too: By the end of September, we expect a report coming from each EU member state on its assessment of the threat to its communications infrastructure posed by Huawei.
DER NewsGerman: The U.S. used to go into battle with tanks, nevertheless right now This specific’s with punitive tariffs. is usually the EU prepared for that will kind of confrontation?
Malmström: President Trump apparently prefers This specific strategy, nevertheless This specific would likely end up as the law of the jungle without the globe Trade Organization (WTO). His approach is usually creating great uncertainty on the markets. In addition, some of Trump’s measures, such as the U.S.’s punitive tariffs on steel as well as aluminum coming from the EU, violate WTO rules.
DER NewsGerman: Trump seems to be using tariffs to achieve non-economic objectives, such as on migration. Will This specific method deliver success?
Malmström: Others will have to judge that will, not least you as journalists. I just have one serious question: Has anything definitely happened at the southern border of the U.S. additional than the fact that will more soldiers were stationed there? Are there fewer refugees arriving or more? I don’t know if anything has changed. nevertheless one thing’s for sure: The damage to the U.S. economy is usually real. Each day we’re hearing about complaints within the U.S. — for example that will steel as well as aluminum have become more expensive.
DER NewsGerman: In Trump’s world, Europe isn’t a friend — This specific is usually also a foe. If Trump reaches an agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the trade dispute at This specific week’s G-20 summit in Japan, will the EU be his next target?
Malmström: An American president who sees Europe as an opponent — we all still have to learn how to deal with This specific situation. We’ve often had problems with the U.S., nevertheless at the core, the trans-Atlantic friendship was unbreakable. that will appears to be different under Trump, which is usually disturbing to many Europeans.
DER NewsGerman: You’ve been negotiating with Washington for months. Can you predict whether Trump will impose punitive tariffs on European cars in November?
Malmström: So far, there has been no sign of This specific happening. In any case, we do not share President Trump’s view that will the export of European cars is usually a threat to American national security. Some 420,000 jobs within the U.S. are dependent on Europe’s auto industry. If Trump goes through with his threat, we’re prepared. Our list of countermeasures is usually ready. nevertheless we are still talking — about a free trade agreement as well as the harmonization of industrial standards.
DER NewsGerman: U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has complained that will Europeans don’t always have “the same level of ambition” as the U.S., particularly in agriculture.
Malmström: I have no mandate coming from the EU member states to negotiate with the U.S. to reduce our agricultural tariffs. The U.S. is usually also not prepared to talk about increased access for European companies to public tenders. Our idea is usually to first negotiate a very rudimentary free trade agreement in order to build trust. within the end, we could perhaps even get the U.S. as well as the EU to abolish all tariffs on each additional’s cars.