July 23, 2018 / 10:37 AM / 4 months ago

EU's Juncker will not bring trade offer to Trump talks: Commission

FILE PHOTO: European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker speaks during a joint news conference with European Investment Bank President Werner Hoyer at the EC headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, July 18, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will not arrive in the United States for talks with U.S. President Donald Trump with a specific trade offer, the Commission said on Monday.

Juncker will travel to Washington on Wednesday for talks focused on trade tensions after the U.S. imposition of tariffs on EU steel and aluminum and Trump’s threats to extend those measures to European cars.

Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, has said he expected Juncker to come with a “significant” trade offer, but the Commission on Monday that would not happen.

“I do not wish to enter into a discussion about mandates, offers because there are no offers. This is a discussion, it is a dialogue and it is an opportunity to talk and to stay engaged in dialogue,” Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas told a news conference.

Trump has repeatedly complained about the European Union, pointing to the higher duties it applies for car imports and describing the bloc as a “foe” in trade.

EU officials have said that, while EU import duties for cars are heavier than those of the United States, for other products, such as trucks, U.S. rates are higher. They also say cutting duties for cars could only be part of a broader trade deal.

European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom, who will accompany Juncker, said last week that the European Union was preparing a list of U.S. products to hit if the United States imposed tariffs on EU cars.

Schinas said Juncker was “very prepared” to set out European arguments.

“This is an occasion to de-dramatize any potential tensions around trade and to engage in an open and constructive dialogue with our American partners,” he said.

Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; editing by Robert-Jan Bartunek

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