President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker agreed to work toward eliminating tariffs and barriers on trade, reducing tensions for now in a brewing trade war.
President Donald Trump told European leaders Wednesday that the US wants a "fair trade deal" with the European Union as both sides sought to defuse tensions in an escalating trade battle involving some of the world's biggest economies.
A group of lawmakers told ABC News that they were supposed to meet with Trump about trade, but instead the president pulled them into the Rose Garden event with European Union commissioner Jean-Claude Juncker.
China targeted tariffs on US farm products after Trump imposed new steel and aluminum tariffs earlier this year, selecting crops and products in areas where Trump enjoys support.
In return, countries have retaliated with tit-for-tat duties on everything from US agricultural goods to Kentucky bourbon and Harley-Davidson motorcycles, aiming to sway top Republican lawmakers by hurting constituents in their districts.
Trump also announced good news for American farmers.
"These tariffs are a tax on American consumers, and they're going to cost Alabama jobs", Jones said.
The two leaders diffused what had threatened to become a trade war between the two blocs, fuelled by tariffs set by Mr Trump on European steel and aluminium exports, and threats to expand the tariffs to cars. Trump had threatened to tax imported cars, trucks and auto parts, potentially targeting imports that past year totaled $335 billion.
The moves have been unsettling to lawmakers with districts dependent upon manufacturers and farmers affected by the retaliatory tariffs.
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To help alleviate the unfortunate consequences on American farmers, the Department of Agriculture has announced its billion dollar band-aid.
"The EU obviously agrees with China that the U.S. shouldn't be unilaterally taking these tariff measures, so it's been willing to kind of voice support for China in that respect, but it ... hasn't gone any further".
But with Trump expecting Juncker to come to Washington with a "significant" offer - and Brussels saying that won't happen - the outcome of this meeting is too tricky to call.
Another option could be a deal between the United States and the European Union to eliminate tariffs on industrial products, including cars, similar to what Trump's tweet suggested. That would cut USA imports of European cars and vehicle parts in half, the commission forecast.
Trump jolted markets once again early Friday when he said he's prepared to impose penalties on some $500 billion in Chinese goods regardless of the consequences that might ensue, economic or political. The Department of Agriculture will determine the payment to each farmer based on the size of a crop multiplied by a specific subsidy rate.
Though details remain sketchy, it seems too soon to call this a truce in the trade war-more like an agreement to stop further escalations of the conflict, at least for now, in the hopes that a truce can be worked out. Danielson, whose farm is in Cadott, says almost 20 percent of the dairy products and around 50 percent of the soybeans he produces are exported.
"They're going to be a massive buyer of LNG, so they'll be able to diversify their energy supply", Trump said of Europe.
Trump has been critical of the European Union over its $150 billion trade surplus with the U.S. But Europe is only one front in Trump's attacks on trading partners.
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