Irish Examiner | 30 September 2019
Hogan: ’It takes two to tango’ to secure EU-US trade deal
The EU’s likely next trade commissioner Phil Hogan has said he wants to secure a trade agreement with the US if he is appointed into the role - despite warning Washington "it takes two to tango" to secure any deal.
Mr Hogan made the comments during a three hour Monday night grilling at the European Parliament which will decide whether he is formally appointed into his new high-ranking position.
In his opening address to MEPs, Mr Hogan - who was nominated for the trade portfolio by European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen this summer - said he wants to make "all tools" available to build the EU’s trading strength.
The current EU agriculture commissioner said he believes the EU and US relationship is "the largest and deepest trade relationship in the world".
However, while saying a US deal is on his agenda if he is formally appointed as trade commissioner, Mr Hogan stressed "it takes two to tango" in a clear reference for Washington to meet Brussels halfway in any future negotiations.
"We have an engagement with China, we do not have an engagement with the United States currently, and I hope that we will," Mr Hogan said.
He later described the existing EU and US situation as "the largest and deepest trade relationship in the world", before adding: "We will build on this positive agenda and work towards a positive [resolution] – but it takes two to tango."
Any EU-US trade deal is likely to prove financially enticing for Brussels as it will open up a new market for produce.
In addition, it may help to limit the US links to Britain in a post-Brexit situation.
However, it will also have the potential impact of causing concerns about certain goods flooding EU member state markets.
Monday night’s meeting involved Mr Hogan being questioned by 25 MEPs, including a number from Ireland, about how he will act if his nomination to the trade commissioner position is rubber-stamped.
During the meeting he was told that the meeting was about "more than a grilling exercise, this is about [clarifying] our trade policy for the next five years".