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EU wants Trump to drop 'reckless' trade policies: incoming trade chief

Kitco News

DUBLIN (Reuters) - The European Union will seek to convince U.S President Donald Trump to see “the error of his ways” and abandon some of his reckless trade policies, the EU executive’s incoming trade commissioner said on Tuesday.

The new head of the executive, Ursula von der Leyen, named a 27-strong team of commissioners on Tuesday who will take office on Nov. 1, assuming they secure approval from the European Parliament.

Irishman Phil Hogan, currently in charge of agriculture, will take up the post of trade commissioner, facing a battle to improve trade ties with the United States and establishing economic future relations with Britain after Brexit.

“Mr Trump certainly has indicated his clear preference for trade wars rather than trade agreements. If he keeps up this particular dynamic of protectionism, I expect that the European Union will continue to forge deals around the world,” Hogan told Irish national broadcaster RTE.

“But obviously we are going to do everything we possibly can to get Mr Trump to see the error of his ways and hopefully that he will be able to abandon some of the reckless behavior that we have seen from him in relation to his relationship with China and describing the European Union as a security risk.”

The EU knows that China has to make certain changes, Hogan added, but said that Trump’s actions were cleary not improving the economic situation in either the United States or China.

Hogan, who has not held back in public and pointed criticism of Britain’s approach throughout the Brexit talks, said that even if a withdrawal agreement is struck this year, it would take another six to eight months before EU member states agree a mandate to allow him start future trade talks.

He said, however, that a no-deal Brexit would create an even further delay, repeating the EU’s position that the main issues in the divorce proceedings of citizens rights, financial settlement and the Irish border would still need to be agreed.

“There are a lot of people in the United Kingdom who have not come to terms that if there is a crash out of the European Union, we still have to deal with the same issues,” he said.

“There is a wishful thinking that these are going to go away, they’re not. They are going to be centrally involved in phase two of the negotiations if phase one doesn’t complete and there is no getting away from that.”

Additional reporting Conor Humphries; Editing by Catherine Evans

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