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European Parliament questions US "America First" policy

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-09-12 23:18

STRASBOURG, Sept. 12 - The members of European Parliament regret the United States "America first" policy, which has led to withdrawal from international agreements and launched trade wars, they said in a resolution adopted Wednesday.

Approved by 490 votes to 148, with 51 abstentions, the resolution affirms that the EU-US relationship is a key guarantor of global stability, but that the choice of a one-sided "America first" policy has eroded relations between the two powers, and harmed the interests of both parties.

"Unilateral moves only weaken the transatlantic partnership," the resolution states.

The recent US decision to pull out of key international agreements, such as the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris Climate agreement, has put common values between the partners at risk.

The European preference for multilateral solutions was expressed by MEPs' insistence that the World Trade Organization (WTO) remained the best forum for the settling of trade disputes. MEPs regretted, in particular, the effect on global trade caused by high tariff duties that Washington has imposed on aluminum and steel imports, casting into doubt the claim that the import duties were justified on reasons of national security.

"The EU constitutes a fair US trading partner, which has a surplus in goods, but if you look at the services and profit transfer to the US, then it is almost equal. We are in favor of a rules-based, multilateral approach and of settling the differences through the WTO, therefore the rule of law has to be accepted, and not the right of might," said International trade committee rapporteur Bernd Lange (Socialists & Democrats, Germany).

Despite their reservations, MEPs urged continued cooperation with the United States in global matters. They also suggested enhanced EU-US cooperation on cybersecurity, counter-terrorism, energy issues, culture and migration, among other areas.

The resolution suggests establishing a Transatlantic Political Council, to be led by the head of EU diplomacy and the United States Secretary of State, in order to allow the powers to consult regularly on foreign and security policy.

"We need more common ground, more European strength, to bring the European Union and the United States closer to each other again," said Elmar Brok (European People's Party, Germany), rapporteur for the European Parliament's International Affairs Committee. He added, "Despite Trump's policy, the US is a democratic country under the rule of law. Therefore we call again for partnership in setting up a global order under such values."

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