Pres. Trump, European Union leaders announce path forward on trade

Pres. Trump, European Union leaders announce path forward on trade

Late yesterday, in a surprise announcement in the White House Rose Garden.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he will seek clarifications from the European Commission on elements of the trade agreement its leader, Jean-Claude Juncker, thrashed out with U.S. President Donald Trump this week.

The joint statement said Brussels and Washington would "work to reduce barriers and increase trade" in a range of products including soybeans, and that the European Union "wants to import more liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States".

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, a veteran of trade negotiations from former President Ronald Reagan's administration in the 1980s who is Trump's top trade official, told lawmakers in Washington that the United States could not afford to capitulate to China economically.

Juncker said he had an "intention to make a deal today and we made a deal today".

"The first issue that we'll begin negotiating is ... the issue on the steel and aluminum tariffs and retaliatory tariffs", Mnuchin said on CNBC.

He said it was a "major concession" on Mr Trump's part and expected him to follow through.

As part of the deal, the United States and Europe will work together on China. We have a trading partnership that is balanced and works for both sides.

Trump said Europe agreed to increase purchases of USA liquefied natural gas and lower trade barriers to American soybeans, aiding United States farmers and the energy sector. For weeks, the president has portrayed the European Union as fleecing America with unfair trade, but he put away his saber as farm state Republicans were begging for relief.

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"I have and will continue to urge the administration to work in close concert with our allies to develop a targeted response to illicit trade practices from bad actors, such as China", he said in a statement. "We are ready to invest in infrastructure and new terminals which could welcome imports of LNG from the United States and elsewhere - but mainly from the United States, if the conditions were right and prices competitive". In May, Trump abandoned a framework for trade negotiations with Chi na within days of it being announced, before ratcheting up tariffs.

In exchange, Trump said he won access for USA soybean producers, and for American natural gas.

Earlier this month, Trump slapped China with a 25 percent tariff on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods.

"Disaster avoided", said Bart Oosterveld, the director of the global business and economics program at the Atlantic Council.

If it holds, the US-EU pact could allow both to focus on China, whose economic rise threatens both. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), a frequent critic of Trump on trade policy, wrote, "This trade war is cutting the legs out from under farmers and the White House's "plan" is to spend $12 billion on gold crutches".

The two leaders did not specifically mention vehicle tariffs in their statements, keeping the focus on other industrial products.

It also doesn't mean that either the tariffs that the President imposed on steel and aluminum from the European Union or the retaliatory tariffs that the E.U. placed on American products including denim, motorcycles, bourbon, and other products, will be lifted any time soon. China is the largest buyer of USA soybeans and one of the largest importers of US pork. So far at least, these are all goals rather than actual accomplishments. "It was a failed government policy in the first place in the form of these unnecessary tariffs that are doing the damage, and now we are forcing taxpayers to send a cheque". While this is a positive development, it's hardly the end of the process.

US farm exports, which enjoyed their third-best year on record in fiscal year 2017 according to US Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue, are key to the sector's profitability.

The NFU estimates that the tariffs foreign countries have placed on American farm products - in retaliation against Trump's various tariffs - have already cost USA agricultural interests $13 billion.

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