European Union countries are on the verge of agreeing to start negotiations with the United States to allow more U.S. beef into Europe, in what could be a major move to defuse transatlantic trade tensions, Reuters reports.
The European Commission sought approval from its 28 member states at the start of September to open negotiations with Washington.
Trade experts have already given their backing, ambassadors will provide clearance on Wednesday and the approval process is set to be completed next week, EU diplomats say.
The beef issue is officially separate from a pact reached by U.S. President Donald Trump and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker in July to try and ease trade tensions. Trump has pledged to reduce the United States’ $151 billion goods trade deficit with the European Union.
However, a deal to increase U.S. meat imports would affect the trade balance, as well as placating the Trump base of U.S. farmers and rural communities which have been hit by the tit-for-tat trade war with China.