Use G20 as an opportunity to improve global trade relations – VCI

Source: ICIS News

2018/11/29

LONDON (ICIS)--Government heads should use the upcoming G20 summit to ease global trade tensions, German chemicals trade group VCI said on Thursday, amid the threat of the US imposing tariffs on EU vehicles.

The summit, which runs from 30 November to 1 December in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is an opportunity for European heads of state to persuade the US to abandon plans for substantial new tariffs on the automotive sector, a key end market for chemicals producers.

US President Donald Trump is reportedly set to decide on whether to impose 25% tariffs on US car imports from all countries except Mexico and Canada by next week, after the summit has concluded.

“Presidents Trump and [EU President Jean-Claude] Juncker could send a strong signal by presenting in Buenos Aires a concrete timetable for reducing industrial tariffs and for regulatory cooperation,” said VCI director-general Utz Tillmann.

It is “urgent” for the European chemicals sector that lawmakers reach an accord on the proposed tariffs before they are imposed, he added.

The summit is expected to touch on reforms to World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, which could also offer an opportunity to begin de-escalating the trade war between the US and China, Tillmann said.

“Presidents Trump and Juncker could send a strong signal by presenting in Buenos Aires a concrete timetable for reducing industrial tariffs and for regulatory cooperation,” he added.

Trump has spoken out this week against the decision by US-based automotive producer General Motors to idle an Ohio production facility.

“The countries that send us cars have taken advantage of the US for decades,” he said on social media platform Twitter. “The President has great power on this issue - Because of the [General Motors] event, it is being studied now.”

“If companies don’t want to pay Tariffs, build in the USA,” he added.