EU concerned about ‘collateral damage’ from U.S.-China spat

Big 5

Europe is concerned about the collateral damage it may suffer from America’s escalating trade dispute with China, Phil Hogan, the European Union agriculture commissioner, said on Wednesday on the sidelines of a food trade show.

Hogan outlined his concerns in a meeting with U.S. Undersecretary for Agriculture Ted McKinney this week in Shanghai, he told a media briefing, as the world’s top two economies held talks to reach a trade agreement.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s top trade and economic officials are preparing to meet Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in Washington to discuss concerns ranging from intellectual property protection to farm goods and steel capacity.

In meetings with senior Chinese government officials this week, Hogan also urged Beijing to continue to give access to the EU region’s beef, following its approval of Irish imports and sought clarification on the nation’s proposed food safety certificates.

European and U.S. governments have worried that proposed food safety rules requiring health certificates for all food imports, even if the products are deemed low-risk, would hamper billions of dollars of trade with the world’s No. 2 economy.

The rules were due to take effect in October last year, but Beijing agreed to a two-year postponement to allow companies more time to comply.

Among the Chinese officials Hogan met were Han Changfu, the minister for agriculture and rural affairs, and vice premier Hu Chunhua.

Hogan, whose official title is European commissioner for agriculture and rural development, is leading a delegation of European food companies in China this week as part of the trade show.