July 27, 2021

The sky is clearing between the European Union and the United States but disputes remain

Now that the Airbus-Boeing conflict is behind them (for five years), the Americans and Europeans will be able to devote themselves to rebuilding their partnership, severely damaged by the Trump years. This was the message they sent on Tuesday, June 15, at the end of the United States-Europe summit, in which the Presidents of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and of the Council, Charles Michel, participated in Brussels, as well as than US Head of State Joe Biden. “The agreement we have found opens a new chapter in our relations”, a souligné Ursula von der Leyen.

In fact, even if the truce between Washington and Brussels on the aeronautical file represents, as the former minister of Angela Merkel said, a “Breakthrough”, it does not in any way bode well for transatlantic relations. “It’s a starting point. We will intensify our cooperation. But some subjects will of course be more difficult ”, recognized Charles Michel.

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Disputes remain on the table, foremost among which is the trade war between the two continents over steel and aluminum. In May, the Commission made a gesture of appeasement by suspending, for six months, the increase in taxes it was to impose on a series of American goods – from Harley Davidson to bourbon – in retaliation for the levies that the United States United impose on European steel and aluminum. This folder is ” more complex “, admitted Ursula von der Leyen, while these surcharges do not only concern Europe, but also other countries including China.

Carbon and GAFA taxes

Other files also point to complicated discussions between Washington and Brussels. Joe Biden thus takes a dim view of the project of the Twenty-Seven to impose a carbon tax at the borders of the Union, for products imported from countries less ambitious in the fight against global warming.

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In the digital domain, too, the United States, which is committed to protecting GAFA, and Europeans, who want to regulate the sector and promote the birth of local players, do not always share the same vision. The tax on the Internet giants that the Twenty-Seven have planned to introduce in order to finance their stimulus plan is not to the taste of the White House, nor of Silicon Valley, which votes more Democrats than Republican. Especially since Joe Biden considers having already given pledges of his desire to reform international taxation, by supporting the establishment at the global level of a minimum tax for companies and a surcharge for the largest groups. “The European digital tax will not be discriminatory and there will be no double taxation”, a assuré Ursula von der Leyen.

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