As US and Russian Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin prepare to meet face to face in Helsinki on 16 July, business leaders are keeping their ears to the ground for signals to help them navigate a changing global trade environment.
The international business lobby group Amcham Finland says it is working with Amcham EU on getting a permanent exemption to tariffs imposed on steel and aluminium products coming from EU countries.
“The EU meets the criteria for exemption and doesn’t pose a national security risk to the US,” said Amcham CEO Alexandra Pasternak-Jackson.
Speaking with Yle News’ Denise Wall on the “Paivän kasvo” (or Face of the Day) interview programme, Pasternak-Jackson said that no one knows for sure what Trump and Putin will discuss when they meet in Helsinki, but her organisation hopes that trade will be on the agenda.
She said that the ratcheting up of tit-for-tat tariffs by the US and its major trading partners creates an unpredictable climate where businesses feel anxious about what to do.
“We’re clearly in a new era of trade policy for the US and with the US and economists overall agree that any kind of trade battle will lead to higher costs, layoffs [and] slow or delayed growth,” she noted.
The Amcham head said that the organisation has no firm expectation that the question of sanctions imposed by both the West and Russia following the annexation of Crimea would be on the agenda. However she noted that any conversation represents forward movement.
“We don’t know where the conversation will go. I think the first step in moving any situation forward is engagement and what the presidents are doing is engaging with each other.”