Spanish, French leaders show skepticism on EU-U.S. trade agreement


MADRID, July 27 (Xinhua) — Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and visiting French President Emmanuel Macron showed skepticism on a trade agreement between the United States and the European Union (EU) after their meeting here on Thursday, Spanish Radio and Television Corporation RTVE reported.

U.S. President Donald Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday agreed to mitigate the transatlantic trade tensions over Washington-launched tariffs. The two agreed to work together towards “zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers, and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods.”

However, Macron said in his first official visit to Spain that he’s not in favor of a trade negotiation right now.

“A good commercial dialogue can only be made under a balanced and reciprocal relationship, not under threat, at all circumstances. I am not in favor of starting to negotiate a broad trade agreement now, because it’s not allowed by the context,” said the French president.

Spanish Prime Minister Sanchez expressed concerns over the U.S. trade protectionism.

“We will not stay calm… we are going to defend the Common Agrarian Policy as it is defined,” the Spanish PM said, underlining the government’s determination in supporting Spain’s agricultural products export against U.S. trade protectionism.

“We do not want any trade war, but the goals that the European Union has accomplished should be preserved,” Sanchez stressed.

Moreover, both countries refused to lower their labor, health or environmental standards in order to reach an agreement with the United States.

“We can not ask our industrialists or our farmers to move towards a sustainable model meanwhile sign trade agreements that would not respect those standards,” Macron argued.

The French president also urged Trump to give “clear gestures” that U.S. would withdraw tariffs on steel and aluminum.

The Spanish PM noted that all agreements negotiated by the European Commission should also be approved by the European parliament and all the member states before they are finally carried out, implying that the agreement that Trump made with Juncker on Wednesday doesn’t have any actual effect now.