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EU to profit from US protectionism?

After weeks of complaining about the new US administration's protectionist agenda, a different tune is now being played in Brussels. An EU commissioner insists US policies could be beneficial for the bloc.

The United States' new nervousness about free trade deals could be beneficial to the 28-member European Union, the bloc's top trade official told the Tuesday edition of the German business daily "Handelsblatt."

EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom (pictured above) said that after Donald Trump's withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal in late January, "many countries are now turning to us, because they believe protectionism is not the right answer."

"We are already negotiating with almost all of [the TPP] nations or preparing talks with the countries around the Pacific Rim that had signed up to the US-led treaty," Malmstrom noted.

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She emphasized that the European Commission had sped up talks with Mexico, South American trade bloc Mercosur and Japan and was preparing possible trade talks with Australia and New Zealand, while it already had a completed deal with Vietnam on the table.

Malmstrom warned the US president against levying harsh tariffs on imported goods in support of his "America first" campaign.

"There's a risk of worldwide retaliatory measures, and that would be bad for our economies and our citizens," she said. "If things really go that far, there will be no winners."

hg/jd (AFP, dpa)

 

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