Last-ditch Talks To Avoid Trade War Between US And Europe

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Top European officials are holding last-ditch talks with the U.S. commerce and trade chiefs just two days before the Trump administration decides whether to hit Europe with new tariffs.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer are attending meetings Wednesday and Thursday at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris.

A final decision on U.S. President Donald Trump's threatened steel and aluminum tariffs is expected by Friday. The administration is also investigating possible limits on foreign cars in the name of U.S. national security.

The European Union is seeking exemptions on the steel tariffs, and has threatened retaliatory moves.

Ross and Lighthizer will meet in Paris with EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom. Ross will also meet the German and French economy ministers.

Meanwhile, the OECD says threatened new trade barriers and rising oil prices could hurt long-awaited global economic growth.

The Paris-based international economic watchdog said Wednesday that "the threat of trade restrictions has begun to adversely affect confidence" and tariffs "would negatively influence investment and jobs."

The Paris-based agency did not specifically name President Trump, but its forecast comes as his administration threats to start a trade war and other countries have warned of retaliatory trade barriers.

The OECD also said persistently high oil prices could push up inflation and push down household incomes.

After a first-quarter slowdown, the OECD slightly revised down its forecast for world economic growth this year to 3.8 percent, with 3.9 percent expected next year.