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Phil Hogan is planning a trip to Washington to convince Donald Trump to work with the EU

Hogan told RTÉ in recent weeks that he aimed “to get Mr Trump to see the error of his ways” on trade.

Image: Virginia Mayo

TRADE COMMISSIONER-DESIGNATE Phil Hogan is to travel to the US as part of efforts to build on EU-US trade relations and to reform the World Trade Organisation.

It is understood that the trip will take place between now and the end of the year, and that the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will also be part of the delegation.

The European Union is also pushing to reform WTO rules in order to have a more robust appeals process for breach of basic trading rules – but the US has been so far reluctant to engage on whether it wants to do so.

Hogan was recently criticised by the US ambassador to the EU for saying that he would aim “to get Mr Trump to see the error of his ways” on trade.

Outgoing Agriculture Commissioner, Hogan, has not yet been officially approved as the EU’s next Trade Commissioner – so far, he has been given the green light by the legal affairs committee, with the trade committee also voting to allow his progression continue. 

The next step is for the Conference of Presidents to decide on 17 October if Parliament has received sufficient information to declare the hearing process closed. If so, the plenary will vote on whether or not to elect the Commission as a whole on 23 October.

The US is one of three regions that the EU trades with based on WTO rules (the other two being China and Russia); trade between the EU and the US is worth $3 billion a day.

In Hogan’s statements to the trade committee on Monday evening, he repeatedly referred to the fact that the EU doesn’t have an open dialogue with the US, whereas they have a relationship with the China, albeit one that’s “not going very far at the moment”.

Hogan said to MEPs last night that the EU wants to deepen trading relationships with the US, but “it takes two to tango”:

“We have a [trade] engagement with China, we do not have an engagement with the United States currently, and I hope that we will.” 

Hogan told MEPs that he will visit China this Saturday 5 October, which will be his first visit as Commissioner to a country outside of the EU.

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