Sputnik: What do you make of President Trump's desire for the mutual cancellation of tariffs between the US and the EU, given that he began this tariff spat in the first place?
Daniel Ujczo: There are two things in play right now. The first is our policy here in the United States. There are key people in the White House – Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, the pro-trade, pro-business side of the White House, coupled with the pro-business community in Washington, the think tank community and others who realize that the president isn't going to give up on tariffs. But perhaps the end game here should be to 'go big', to do something big and dramatic, which we know the president likes. They've given up on stopping him from putting tariffs on. What they're trying to do is convince him to remove tariffs. It's really a domestic 'get in the president's ear' [scenario] to get him to do something big like removing tariffs elsewhere…
Sputnik: What do you expect from the European Union on the trade issue?
Daniel Ujczo: I think there has been some mixed signaling, and that there's one of three options. The first option that we have to be prepared for is that nothing happens. If the Europeans come with relative talk, there's a chance the president may not even meet if there's not a nice juicy red deal on the table. We have to be prepared for that scenario.
The more likely scenario is a mid-range deal, where we try to deal with the autos issue; what's in the crosshairs right now is the European Union's 10% tariff on US automobiles. That's something that the president just really has in his crosshairs right now. So I think the discussion should focus on that.
If we don't reach an agreement relatively soon, the US can be expected to put tariffs on foreign auto imports sometime in August. So I think it's very important to try to strike this deal now.
So my view is that we'll probably be talking autos by the end of the day.
Sputnik: US tariffs have of course hit countries beyond the EU and have affected Canada, Mexico, and China as well. How likely is the US stance likely to change with regard to these other countries? They will surely be watching this week's negotiations between the US and the EU very carefully.
Daniel Ujczo: Yes, the goal here over the coming weeks and months is that the US is going to try to resolve its issues in our backyard here with Canada and Mexico via NAFTA, then talk with the European Union. I think there is an effort to try to start bilateral talks with Japan…
The US is prepared I think to go the distance with China. We saw yesterday that the US announced subsidy programs for the agricultural community of up to $12 billion. That should be a signal to the international community that the US is ready to take this trade fight the distance.
Daniel Ujczo is an international trade and customs attorney focusing on Canada-US matters. The views expressed by Mr. Ujczo are those of the expert, and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.