USTR's Tai tells EU antitrust chief she wants "more positive" trade ties

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Monday told the European Union's competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, that she has a "strong desire to develop a more positive and productive" trade relationship with the EU, USTR said.

USTR said in a statement Tai and Vestager agreed to work together on priorities such as climate change, the digital economy and strengthening U.S.-EU cooperation to deal with large, non-market economies such as China.

The statement did not say whether the two officials discussed Tai's decision on Friday to proceed with preparations for potential tariffs against goods from Austria, Britain, Italy, Spain, India and Turkey over digital services taxes imposed by those countries.

Vestager has long been an advocate for Europe to be a leader in ensuring that technology giants such as Google, Facebook and Apple pay their fair share of taxes in the region.

USTR investigations launched by the Trump administration found that digital taxes imposed by the six countries and France discriminate against the U.S. tech firms. Tai said on Friday that her move to seek public comments on potential tariffs would preserve U.S. options in case a global consensus on taxes could not be reached.

The Biden administration has pledged renewed efforts to negotiate a global solution on international taxes through the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

USTR said Tai and Vestager agreed to "regular engagement" in the future.

(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Leslie Adler)