President Trump met with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday to talk about trade. At the end of the meeting, the two leaders announced a plan to work towards the elimination of all tariffs and trade barriers between the EU and the US.
Trump had proposed the complete elimination of barriers the day before, suggesting on Twitter that the US was ready but the EU wasn’t.
“This was a very big day for free and fair trade,” said Trump as the deal was announced to reporters. “We agreed today, first of all, to work together toward zero tariffs, zero, non-tariff barriers, and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods.” The two sides also agreed to reduce industrial tariffs on both sides and to increase the sale of natural gas and soybeans to the EU.
The soybean agreement benefits US farmers suffering from Chinese taxes, while the fuel agreement benefits the EU by reducing the bloc’s dependence on Russian energy.
Both sides agreed that no new tariffs would go into effect during negotiations, a decision Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) described as “smart” and the “best way to achieve a win-win solution.”
The EU also unexpectedly agreed to join the US in pursuit of reforms at the World Trade Organization – an organization Trump believes is biased against the US.
The trade dispute between the US and EU began in March when Trump announced plans to impose a 25% tax on steel and a 10% tax on aluminum. The tariffs went into effect, and the EU responded by taxing $3.25 billion worth of American products including motorcycles, whiskey, and peanut butter.
Trump then threatened to impose a 25% tariff on European-made cars – a change that would have increased the price of a single vehicle by more than $11,000. The EU currently charges a 10% tax on US-made cars. The US charges a 2.5% tax on European-made cars.
While Juncker had initially sought to hit the US with more tariffs, German automakers pressured him to consider Trump’s zero-tariff idea.
After the meeting, Trump and Juncker confirmed they would try to “resolve” the steel and aluminum tariffs as well as the duties the EU imposed in response. More details on that effort are expected to be released after the November elections.
“The United States and the EU together count for more than 830 million citizens and more than 50% of the global GDP,” said Trump. “In other words, we’re more than 50% of trade. If we team up, we can make our planet a better, more secure and more prosperous place.”
Editor’s note: It is likely the mainstream media will not recognize the maneuverings of President Trump as true negotiating capability. But here is is.