The Trump administration said it will seek fast-track approval from Congress for a trade deal being negotiated with the European Union, suggesting the two sides are hoping to make substantial changes to their commercial relationship.
The U.S. Trade Representative’s office said Monday it will begin consultations with Congress on a trade deal with Europe under Trade Promotion Authority, a legislative tool that allows the president to seek a simple yes-or-no vote by lawmakers on a final deal. In exchange, the administration must clear a series of hurdles, such as remaining in close consultation with committees in the House and Senate that oversee trade.The move signals talks between the U.S. and EU are going well, less than two months after they were threatening to slap tariffs on each other in what appeared to be a prelude to a damaging trade war. At the end of July, President Donald Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker agreed to work toward zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers and zero subsidies on industrial goods outside the auto sector, among other things. As part of the deal, the EU agreed to buy more U.S. liquefied natural gas and soybeans. In exchange, Trump said he’d hold off on his threat of adding new tariffs on European vehicles.