EUROPE and the US should put their trade tensions aside and join forces to fight China, according to Donald Trump’s envoy to Brussels.
By SIMON OSBORNEPUBLISHED: 08:21, Thu, Feb 7, 2019 | UPDATED: 08:50, Thu, Feb 7, 2019
Donald Trump and Jean Claude-Juncker (Image: GETTY)
Gordon Sondland, US ambassador to the EU, said the two sides should combine their energies and take on to Beijing on three fronts: economically, from an intelligence standpoint and militarily. Mr Sondland described China’s growing global influence as malign and called for Washington and Brussels to “link arms” to challenge it. He said: “We have a $40 trillion combined GDP, there is nothing on the planet that is more powerful than that.
We should combine our mutual energies to meet China and check China in multiple respects
“We should combine our mutual energies to meet China and check China in multiple respects: economically, from an intelligence standpoint, militarily.
“That’s where the EU and US really should be linking arms.”
Mr Sondland urged “a quick resolution that would move our trade relationship in the right direction so that we can both turn toward China, which is really the future problem in multiple respects”.PROMOTED STORY
But insiders warned the odds remained stacked against a quick fix with Washington demanding difficult concessions from Europe while Brussels accuses the US of trying to blackmail the EU with tariff threats.
US ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland (Image: GETTY)
Mr Trump and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker reached a truce in July and last month both sides delivered negotiating objectives for a planned trade deal.
But progress is being hampered by the EU’s refusal to discuss greater market access for US agricultural products and American reluctance to accept reductions in duties on European cars.
The EU made a similar pitch to Washington last year when French President Emmanuel Macron visited the White House and called for joint action against Chinese trade practices such as heavy subsidies, forced technology transfer and state-owned enterprises.
Mr Sondland linked his criticism of Beijing’s practices to Chinese telecoms giant Huawei which is the main target of a US campaign advising Europeans not to use Chinese companies when building their 5G networks.
He said: “We want to keep critical infrastructure in the Western world out of Chinese malign influence.
“Someone from the Politburo in Beijing picks up the phone and says ‘I wanna listen in on the following conversation, I wanna run a certain car off the road that’s on the 5G network and kill the person that’s in it,’ there’s nothing that company legally can do today in China to prevent the Chinese government from making that request successfully.”
Huawei rejected the allegations and insisted the company “has a clean track record on cybersecurity” and is “committed to work with European institutions to develop a cybersecurity standard for Europe”.