Brussels trade pact with US set to secure cheaper prices for UK citizens

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The European Union said it would scrap trade levies on live and frozen lobsters imported from the United States. In return, Washington has also agreed to halve tariffs on a range of EU manufactured products, including glassware, ceramics, disposable lighters and some ready meals containing fish. Eurocrats said the bloc’s tariffs would be lowered on the basis of the World Trade Organisation’s most-favoured nation rules.

This means Britain, and other non-EU members, will be able to benefit from the reduction in levies.

The agreement is the first negotiated tariff reduction between Brussels and Washington in more than 20 years.

“As part of improving EU-US relations, this mutually beneficial agreement will bring positive results to the economies of both the United States and the European Union,” said US trade representative Robert Lighthizer and EU trade commissioner Phil Hogan in a joint statement.

“We intend for this package of tariff reductions to mark just the beginning of a process that will lead to additional agreements that create more free, fair, and reciprocal transatlantic trade.”

The reductions will be available for a period of five years, and remain subject to the approval of the European Parliament and European Council.

President Trump has previously bemoaned Europe’s ability to import tariff-free Canadian lobsters as part of the EU-Canada trade pact.

Sales of the US seafood to Europe have slumped because of the duty-free Canadian agreement.

US exports of the product to the EU were said to be over £85 million since 2017.

In June, President Trump sanctioned aid for US lobstermen suffering from the deteriorating trade relationship.

China also slapped tariffs on the crustacean as part of the Washington-Beijing trade dispute.

But the EU pact comes at an important time for the President, who is vying for re-election later this year.

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Most US lobster exports to the EU came from the state of Maine, a key political battleground for Republicans and Democrats.

The US tariff reductions will also be made according to the WTO’s most-favoured nation rules, which means they will drop for all of Washington’s trading partners.

Brussels hopes the agreement will be the first step in healing its trading relationship with the US.

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The EU wants to defuse a long-running dispute over state support for aircraft makers Airbus and Boeing.

The row saw the US slap tariffs of 25 percent on a range of British and European products.

“Resolution to Boeing-Airbus is the big prize here – we have been pushing intensively,” said one EU official.

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