Wilbur Ross’ addled boss has practically no firm principles, but one is that those he attacks, belittles and humiliates should be able to put the world back together as fast as he blows it up. For instance, the president would like a resolution to the on-hold trade war he launched against the European Union for no particular reason by the end of next month. This infantile neediness has run into two potentially insuperable obstacles, namely the glacial pace at which the EU operates, and the diplomatic failings and nap schedule of his Commerce Secretary. And also of his actual diplomats.
“We really need tangible progress, our president’s patience is not unlimited,” Mr. Ross said during a press briefing in Brussels, a day after meeting European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom in the EU’s capital. He said the U.S. stressed “the need for speed and for getting to near-term deliverables.”
Mr. Ross’s remarks came just hours after Ms. Malmstrom blamed Washington for not engaging with the EU to establish the framework of a trade pact….
“They’re not moving at all because of the complete intransigence by her team in engaging in any meaningful way on any of the issues we discussed,” Mr. Sondland said. If the president were to take stock of talks today, he said, “I don’t believe…that he would consider those negotiations to be progressing satisfactorily.”
EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier on Tuesday briefed foreign ministers on a plan to add a further 12 months to the transition period after Britain leaves the bloc in March 2019…. According to Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, the aim of the extension would be to reassure the U.K. that it will have enough time to negotiate a trade agreement with the bloc that would avoid triggering a “backstop” that would leave the island of Ireland without a border, but at the cost of hiving Northern Ireland off from U.K. rules and regulations….
An extended transition wouldn’t be without headaches…. It would also delay U.K. trade deals with non-EU countries.