When EU leaders gather this week for their last summit of the Donald Trump era, they will not get their hopes up regarding a sudden end to Trump’s trade war. Disputes over tariffs and taxes will not be resolved overnight. The best the officials can hope for is ongoing, slow improvement.
From climate change to security, there is a wide range of issues on which Europeans hope for an almost immediate improvement in cooperation from a new US president, after years of thinly veiled hostility from his predecessor.
But trade is tougher. Not only are tariffs that Trump imposed on European steel and aluminium in 2018 hard to lift, but Washington could even impose new levies on French handbags and cosmetics as soon as next month, just before Biden takes office.
“The United States has for many years not been a friendly partner for European countries,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on the day after the US election last month, noting that the outcome would not alter US interests.
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