WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrat Joe Biden would end the “artificial trade war” that U.S. President Donald Trump has waged against Europe, while working to address persistent imbalances in agricultural trade between the two blocs, a senior adviser said on Tuesday.
Tony Blinken told an online event hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that Biden and Trump had starkly different views regarding Europe, and the former vice president favored a much more cooperative approach on issues such as China, climate and trade.
“The EU is the largest market in the world. We need to improve our economic relations,” Blinken said. “And we need to bring to an end an artificial trade war that the Trump administration has started … that has been poisoning economic relations, costing jobs, increasing costs for consumers.”
Since taking office, Trump has repeatedly frustrated European leaders through policy decisions such as withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, quitting the Paris climate treaty, and imposing a series of tariffs on EU goods.
If elected, Biden would seek to rebuild strong ties with the European Union, while still working to address problems with allies in the region, including in agricultural trade, Blinken, who served as deputy national security adviser to former President Barack Obama, told the event.“There is an objective problem, I think, with the EU in terms of a persistent, growing imbalance in agricultural goods trade because of rules that prevent us from selling goods where we are very competitive.”
But there were many areas of common interest and shared goals, including the need to counter China’s commercial practices, Blinken said.
“This really goes to the heart of Vice President Biden’s thinking: reaffirming our core alliances,” Blinken said. “It means engaging the European Union instead of urging countries to leave it, and treating it like it’s an enemy,” he said.
Biden also differed with Trump on the approach to Russia, Blinken said, noting that the former vice president believed in countering aggressive actions by Russia, including through coordinated sanctions, if necessary.
If elected, Biden planned to convene a meeting of democracies early in his term to discuss common domestic concerns such as societal inequities and trust in governance, as well as repairing trade and economic relations.
The goal would be to “develop a common strategic vision and a road map for countering challenges, whether it’s coming from Russia, or China in different ways, or Iran,” he said.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal, David Lawder and Trevor Hunnicutt, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Andrea Ricci)