Shift in EU-US rhetoric, but trade policy unchanged

Shift in EU-US rhetoric, but trade policy unchanged

President Trump said European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker have agreed to work towards "zero" tariffs, and improving their trade relationship, listing specifics.

The Trump administration has threatened new tariffs, and the president is reportedly considering up to a 25 percent tariff on automobile imports - one that could spark more retaliation and affect already hard-hit communities in auto manufacturing hubs like Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky.

Juncker came to Washington for a last-ditch bid to avoid US tariffs on cars.

While the White House offered few specifics about the agreement, the joint appearance did represent a break from the cutting rhetoric Trump and some European leaders used this year and, for now, appeared to soften concerns about an all-out trade war between the major economies and allies.

Speaking Tuesday at a VFW convention in Kansas City, Missouri, President Trump called for patience. The U.S.is also in the middle of a trade dispute with China and is threatening to impose new tariffs on the European auto sector.

With Juncker by his side, Trump told 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 rhetoric came as the president has engaged in hard-line trade negotiations with China, Canada and European nations, seeking to revise trade deals he says have undermined the nation's manufacturing base and led to a wave of job losses in recent decades.

Trump said Wednesday. "Are we just going to continue and let our farmers and country get ripped off?"

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The trade war could eventually extend well beyond the US$50 billion worth of Chinese imports already targeted and likely to face tariffs after this week's hearings.

"We also will resolve the steel and aluminum tariff issues, and we will resolve retaliatory tariffs".

Chinese President Xi Jinping said at an global summit in South Africa that the world faces "a choice between co-operation and confrontation", in remarks that criticized escalating USA tariffs on goods from China and other major trading partners.

Still, the deal announced Wednesday with the European Union is an encouraging sign that America's trade partners may be able to placate the Trump administration with offers to buy more USA goods, averting a trade war that the International Monetary Fund has warned may undermine the strongest global upswing in years.

Trump imposed global tariffs on aluminum and steel earlier this year as part of his escalating trade confrontation, and he is now weighing the imposition of auto tariffs.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the White House said it is preparing a $12 billion aid package for US farmers hit by trade tensions.

Trump on Tuesday tweeted that the European Union was coming to negotiate a trade deal. He says, "We are once again pouring new American steel into the spine of our country". "That means the ball is in these other countries' court". Also pictured, from right, is Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Commerce Wilbur Ross. -China trade war - in which each country taxes all the other's imports - would shave 1 percent off the USA economy and wipe out 700,000 jobs in the United States by 2020.

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