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Biden Looks to Ease EU Trade Tensions  06/15 06:10

   President Joe Biden appeared to be on the cusp of ending a long-running 
dispute with the European Union over airline subsidies, a major breakthrough in 
the U.S-EU relationship could come on the eve of his highly anticipated meeting 
with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

   BRUSSELS (AP) -- President Joe Biden appeared to be on the cusp of ending a 
long-running dispute with the European Union over airline subsidies, a major 
breakthrough in the U.S-EU relationship could come on the eve of his highly 
anticipated meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

   After a pair of summits with Group of Seven world leaders in the U.K. and 
then NATO allies in Brussels, Biden meets Tuesday with European Council 
President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der 
Leyen, where he was expected to discuss U.S.-EU relations and his meeting with 
Putin.

   Early Tuesday, there were signs the two allies were moving to resolve a 
17-year dispute over how much of a government subsidy each can provide for its 
aircraft manufacturing giant -- Boeing in the United States and Airbus in the 
EU.

   "I'm very positive and convinced that together we will deliver today," von 
der Leyen told reporters hours before the Biden meeting in Brussels.

   A person familiar with the discussions said the U.S. and EU officials have 
reached principles of an agreement on airlines subsidies. The person was not 
authorized to discuss the matter and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

   The Financial Times was first to report that the sides are ready to secure a 
deal after two days of intensive negotiations and that it could be announced at 
the EU-U.S. summit.

   The president has sought to marshal widespread European support for his 
efforts to counter Russia prior to his Wednesday meeting in Geneva with Putin. 
But the U.S.-EU relationship is not without its own tensions. The continent's 
leaders are becoming impatient that Biden has not yet addressed Donald Trump's 
2018 decision to impose import taxes on foreign steel and aluminum.

   Even without action on tariffs, White House officials expressed confidence 
that they can build more goodwill with Europe ahead of the face-to-face meeting 
with Putin.

   The White House on Tuesday announced the creation of a joint U.S.-EU trade 
and technology council. The trans-Atlantic council will work on coordinating 
standards for artificial intelligence, quantum computing and bio-technologies, 
as well as coordinating efforts on bolstering supply chain resilience. Biden is 
appointing Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo 
and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to co-chair the U.S. side of the 
effort.

   The White House said the two sides will also discuss efforts to stem climate 
change and launch an expert group to determine how best to reopen travel safely 
as the coronavirus pandemic ebbs.

   Biden started his day by meeting with Belgian King Philippe and Belgian 
Prime Minister Alexander De Croo.

   The U.S.-EU summit is also expected to include a communique that will 
address concerns about China's provocative behavior.

   That statement would follow a NATO summit communique on Monday that declared 
China a constant security challenge and said the Chinese are working to 
undermine the global rules-based order. On Sunday, the G-7 called out what it 
said were China's forced labor practices and other human rights violations 
against Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in the western Xinjiang 
province.

   Since taking office in January, Biden has repeatedly pressed Putin to take 
action to stop Russian-originated cyberattacks on companies and governments in 
the U.S. and around the globe and decried the imprisonment of Russian 
opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Biden also has publicly aired intelligence 
that suggests -- albeit with low to moderate confidence -- that Moscow offered 
bounties to the Taliban to target U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan.

   Both Biden and Putin have described the U.S.-Russia relationship as being at 
an all-time low.

   The Europeans are keen to set up a "high-level dialogue" on Russia with the 
United States to counter what they say is Moscow's drift into authoritarianism 
and anti-Western sentiment.

   At the same time, the 27-nation bloc is deeply divided in its approach to 
Moscow. Russia is the EU's biggest natural gas supplier, and plays a key role 
in international conflicts and key issues, including the Iran nuclear deal and 
conflicts in Syria and Libya.

   The hope is that Biden's meeting with Putin might pay dividends, and no one 
in Brussels wants to undermine the show of international unity that has been on 
display at the G-7 and NATO summits, according to EU officials.

   In addition to scolding China, NATO leaders in their communique on Monday 
took a big swipe at Russia, deploring its aggressive military activities and 
snap wargames near the borders of NATO countries as well as the repeated 
violation of the 30-nations' airspace by Russian planes.

   They said Russia has ramped up "hybrid" actions against NATO countries by 
attempting to interfere in elections, political and economic intimidation, 
disinformation campaigns and "malicious cyber activities."

   "Until Russia demonstrates compliance with international law and its 
international obligations and responsibilities, there can be no return to 
'business as usual,'" the NATO leaders wrote. "We will continue to respond to 
the deteriorating security environment by enhancing our deterrence and defense 
posture."

 
 
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