Trump says agreed with EU to work to lower trade barriers

AP  Jae C. Hong

It remains to be seen if the surprise deal, which came together in just three and half hours of talks, will stand the test of time despite Juncker and Trump's "understanding". Juncker, after Trump imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, said in March that "this is basically a stupid process, the fact that we have to do this".

U.S. farmers have been hurt by China's retaliatory tariffs on American soybeans amid an escalating trade fight between Washington and Beijing, and Trump has been promising relief.

"It means that they are competitive", Mr. Trump told Glor.

On Tuesday, the president said his threat to slap tariffs on European-made automobiles is what prompted senior European Commission officials to schedule meetings with him.

"That indicates [the US] will likely stand ground with the tariffs against China through the fourth quarter, when there are midterm elections in the United States and soy harvests begin in the northern hemisphere, and into the spring of 2019", he said.

European Union officials argued that this concession fell under the flexibility national governments gave Juncker during the round of phone calls with various national leaders he had before his trip.

Juncker came to Washington for a last-ditch bid to avoid US tariffs on cars. In May, Trump abandoned a framework for trade negotiations with China within days of it being announced, before ratcheting up tariffs.

The EU will import more American soybeans and natural gas, adjust regulations to help medical devices be traded more easily, and both sides will decrease industrial tariffs.

"We are starting the negotiation right now, but we know where it is going".

This fresh concession added to past offers made by the Europeans, which were also included in the final communiqué. "It will also make trade fairer and more reciprocal".

The U.S. and the EU had been on course for a full-on trade war after Trump announced earlier this year tough new levies on steel and aluminum exports, . and recently threatening a 25-percent tariff on European autos, with the EU reciprocating with tariffs against U.S. goods.

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"This was a very big day for free and fair trade, a very big day indeed".

"This will open markets for farmers, workers and increase investment and lead to prosperity in both the United States and the European Union", Trump said.

Their fourth agreement was to "join forces to protect American and European companies from better and really better than ever...we will therefore work closely together with likeminded partners to reform the WTO and to address unfair trading practices including intellectual property theft, forced technology transfer, industrial subsidy, distortions created by state-owned enterprises, and overcapacity".

The EU's trade tactics have irked Trump about as much as his have irked Republican lawmakers, many of whom have called for the GOP chief executive to drop his trade dispute with America's allies and adversaries.

Addressing the China trade relationship, Trump wrote on Twitter, "They are being vicious in what will be their failed attempt".

There was an "understanding", the EU's Juncker said, that "as long as we're negotiating, unless one party would stop the negotiations, we will hold off further tariffs [on cars]".

The meeting exceeded what were low expectations in Brussels. "This was a good and constructive meeting".

Evans-Pritchard said the US-EU agreement will allow Washington to take "a more focused approach" with regards to China, but that it would be hard to find a resolution to the China-US trade war given the Chinese government's reluctance to shift its industrial policies.

China is set to become the focus of Donald Trump's global crusade for "free and fair trade" after reaching a deal with the EU to suspend new tariffs and expand European imports of U.S. goods.

The response to the announcement was mixed, with many legislators criticizing the plan, calling it "welfare for farmers", and farm groups pleading for a more lasting solution. During a briefing, USDA officials said details would be released in the next couple of weeks.

The US and the European Union together count for more than 50% of global GDP and boast a $1 trillion bilateral trade relationship.

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