The European Union stands firm in its refusal to include agriculture in a possible new trade agreement with the United States, said European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström.

Since the trade talks began in July 2018, the EU has more than doubled imports of soybeans from the U.S., whose sales have suffered overall due to retaliatory tariffs in the U.S.-China trade war.

Even with increased soy imports into the EU, the U.S. feed and agriculture industry are asking that agricultural negotiations be added to the trade talks. More than 50 feed and agricultural producer associations signed a letter to the office of the U.S. Trade Representative indicating that they would not support a bloc without increased EU market access.

Ongoing trade talks

U.S. President Donald Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker also agreed last July that neither party will impose new tariffs on the other as long as the trade talks continue.

The Trump administration recently threatened to impose tariffs on automotive imports for reasons of national security. This  declaration has worried German manufacturers, but Malmström said she still expects Americans to adhere to the agreement and to exempt the EU from any new rate while the trade talks are ongoing.

The U.S. Department of Commerce is expected to issue a report in early February on automotive tariffs, but economists say that new tariffs would be a blow to the global economy.

To learn more about the ongoing EU-U.S. trade talks, visit Reuters, and The Economic Times.