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EU to agree strong text against U.S. tariffs before G20

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union finance ministers are set to agree on Friday a joint position before a meeting with their counterparts at the G20 next week, in which they criticize “unilateral” U.S. trade measures and back a firm response.

EU ministers will also call for more global action on tax transparency and against money laundering, and will push for an international digital tax reform by 2020, according to a draft text that will form their mandate at the G20 meeting of finance ministers in Buenos Aires on July 19-22.

“The EU promotes international cooperation to modernize the WTO,” the EU draft text, seen by Reuters, said citing the World Trade Organisation.

It added that the EU “rejects WTO-inconsistent unilateral measures by others.”

“In this respect, we regret the recent U.S. decisions to impose import tariffs, which leave the EU no choice but to react in an adequate, proportionate and reasonable manner in full respect of WTO rules,” the document said.

An EU official said the draft statement is already widely supported by the 28 EU states and will be on the table of EU finance ministers at their regular monthly meeting in Brussels on Friday.

Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; editing by Philip Blenkinsop

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