President Joe Biden has vowed to mend America’s trade relations with its European allies, which were stretched to the breaking point by President Donald Trump’s mercurial behavior, combative policies and aversion to multinational alliances.
Yet when he meets Tuesday with European Union leaders in Brussels, Biden may find that making up is hard to do. The prospect of forging an accord to resolve their differences — and perhaps form a united front against an increasingly confrontational China — may be stymied by European skepticism.
Sounding a sour note about Biden’s intentions, Valdis Dombrovskis, a Latvian political leader who serves as the European Union’s trade chief, said in speech last week that the time had come “for the U.S. to walk the talk.’’
Dombrovskis was referring in part to Trump’s 2018 decision to impose import taxes on foreign steel and aluminum — a decision that left European leaders furious and triggered retaliatory steps against the United States. Biden has been slow to take up the possibility of dropping the tariffs, which Trump had imposed on the basis of “national security.”