BRUSSELS -- June 9 - The leaders of the United States and the European Union are set to call for a new study into the origins of COVID-19 in Brussels next week, according to a draft communique.
The seven-page draft, seen by Reuters, seeks to show concrete results of the new dawn endorsed by the EU leaders when U.S. President Joe Biden took over from Donald Trump in January.
The draft, which will be discussed by EU ambassadors on Wednesday, commits to end a long-running dispute over subsidies to aircraft makers before July 11 and to eliminate tariffs that had been imposed three years ago by December.
We commit to work towards lifting the Section 232 national security tariffs on both sides tied to our steel and aluminum dispute before December 1, 2021.
The EU and the United States are the top trade powers, along with China, but Trump sought to sideline the EU.
After blocking a free trade agreement with the EU, the Trump administration focused on reducing a growing U.S. deficit in goods trade. In promoting climate change however, Biden sees the EU as an ally in promoting free trade as well as end COVID-19 pandemic.
At the Brussels summit, both sides will agree to cooperate on china policy and also call for a new study into the origins of the COVID-19 Pandemic, first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan, as the draft said.
We call for progress on a transparent, evidence-based study of the origins of COVID 19, which is free from interference, the draft said.
The two prevailing theories are that the virus escaped from humans, possibly bats, to animals or that it jumped from a virology laboratory in Wuhan. Members of a WHO team who visited China this year to investigate COVID - 19's origin said they were not given access to all data, fuelling the debate.
If agreed, the joint stance on China would be a boost to the Biden administration, which seeks friends to stand up to Beijing, but has added that it will not force any ally to choose sides.
Europe has tried until now to maintain a strategic balance which avoids alienating either China or America.
But China's military expansion, its claims to sovereignty in most of the South China SeaChina Sea and the mass detentions of Muslim Uyghurs in Northwestern Brussels have changed the mood in China.
We intend to closely cooperate and consult on the full range of questions in the framework of our respective multifaceted approaches to China which include elements of cooperation, competition and systemic rivalry, the draft said.
It also promised an effort to help vaccinate at least two-thirds of the world's population against COVID 19 by the end of 2022. Which are some of the best options?