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20.01.2021

New US administration: ZVEI calls for new impetus in trade relations

The new US President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is associated with many expectations. From the perspective of ZVEI, the USA and the European Union urgently need to find their way back to a common agenda in order to initiate the necessary reforms in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and thus strengthen the multilateral trading system. That President Biden started the process to re-join the Paris Agreement on climate protection on his first day in office is a positive sign.

ZVEI considers it particularly important that the EU and the USA quickly resolve the trade disputes that have arisen in recent years and return to reliable economic relations based on partnership. A free trade agreement that aims at both the reduction of industrial tariffs and a gradual dismantling of non-tariff trade barriers in the USA would generate economic stimulating effects in both economies and also create better future prospects for direct investments. However, negotiations on a comprehensive and overambitious agreement have already been extremely difficult in the past. Therefore, the electrical industry is now hoping for new impetus in the current negotiations on industrial tariffs and Conformity Assessment. ZVEI has presented the EU with extensive proposals for a possible agreement that would significantly facilitate market access for EU companies in the US market by reducing product certification costs. 

At the same time, the EU and the US, together with other similarly minded partners such as Japan or Canada, should jointly provide important impetus in the WTO negotiations on e-commerce and the WTO reform discussions on subsidy rules. It is also important that the EU and the USA come to a stronger cooperation on the topic of data transfer. The recent ruling of the European Court of Justice on the Privacy Shield agreement makes it necessary to initiate new efforts for the free flow of data.

The Trump administration had declared imports of steel and aluminium as a threat to US national security and imposed additional tariffs on these products. In addition, investigations into transformers and automobiles were initiated here. These protective tariffs should be abolished by the Biden administration, also for its own benefit, because these tariffs are at the expense of American consumers.

As a result of the Airbus-Boeing dispute, the US imposed punitive tariffs on products of the electrical industry, such as power tools, even though they are not directly related to the dispute. This conflict should be settled quickly, also because the WTO has meanwhile passed a guilty verdict against Boeing, based on which the EU is imposing tariffs on US products and the mutual claims could also be resolved in the course of a settlement.

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