U.S. President Trump says 'tariffs are the greatest'

26 July, 2018, 13:32 | Author: Kathy Ellis
  • AP  Jae C. Hong

German ministers welcomed an initiative agreed between U.S. President Donald Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to ease the threat of a trade war, with one describing it as a breakthrough and another saying it had won the EU time.

The commission, which manages trade relations on behalf of all 28 nations in the European Union, is preparing a list of retaliatory measures on American goods worth $20 billion should the US impose vehicle tariffs, Malmstrom said.

"This was a very big day for free and fair trade", Mr. Trump said.

Juncker visited Washington on Wednesday to talk trade with Trump, who insisted on reciprocal trade relations with the EU. Today's agreement specifically deals only with "non-auto industrial goods" but Juncker and his team have been hammering the point that they hope/expect that no further tariffs will be imposed by either side so long as negotiations are ongoing.

In a Rose Garden announcement, Trump said the European Union had also agreed to buy USA soybeans, a day after he announced a $12 billion bailout package for farmers hit by retaliatory tariffs. China, meanwhile, retaliated with duties on pork and soybeans.

Trump also won a commitment to work together to reform the World Trade Organization to address some of his complaints about China on theft of USA technology, the behavior of state-owned enterprises, and overcapacity in steel.

The EU is trying to nudge Trump here, quite rightly, to resolve his differences with Europe on trade so that the two sides can join forces against a more menacing adversary.

On Tuesday, President Trump announced a $12 billion relief package for farmers to offset their losses brought on by new Chinese tariffs. Sens. Doug Jones, D-Ala., and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., on Wednesday introduced legislation that would delay Trump's planned auto tariffs.

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"While we're grateful the administration is doing something, we're hopeful these tariff issues will be resolved soon because farmers would rather trade than take aid", said Joel Rotz, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau spokesman. As the man himself said on Twitter Wednesday, any lawmaker who questions his tariffs is "weak".

Trump declared earlier Tuesday that "Tariffs are the greatest!" and threatened to impose additional penalties on USA trading partners as he prepared for negotiations with European officials at the White House.

Though details are not yet final, the aid package is not expected to breach the $19.1 billion limit the World Trade Organization allows for internal subsidies, according to Brad Karmen, the USDA's assistant deputy administrator for farm programs.

The tariff could seriously damage the USA economy, say business executives and GOP leadership, as well as lead to revolts within the Republican party itself.

The biggest news from the Trump-Juncker meeting is that it appears to have delayed an impending trade war over autos.

Trump also touted the open markets he hoped to reach for Europeans to import food from the U.S.

Mr. Trump's latest tweets came a day after his administration's first acknowledgement that the aggressive trade actions are causing domestic pain, with the announcement of $12 billion in aid for farmers who have been the primary targets of Chinese retaliation.

"The word that we got from staff was, as it was coming together, [Trump] was saying, 'OK, what's the next meeting?' And they said, 'Mr".

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