Published: Thu, July 26, 2018
Money | By Bruce West

Juncker presents Trump with cemetery photo, but it’s not a grave warning

Juncker presents Trump with cemetery photo, but it’s not a grave warning

After crunch talks with the President of the European Commission, the US President Donald Trump said both sides had agreed to "work together towards zero tariffs".

"The US administration has already applied high tariffs to European Union steel and aluminium exports, and is embroiled in a trade war with China".

Minutes later, at a conference at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Juncker said that the agreement emphasised the "special" nature of the alliance between the USA and the European Union going on to stress that trade between the two parties comprises half of all global commerce.

In a speech to The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States on Tuesday, Trump said farmers will eventually be "the biggest beneficiary" of his tariffs.

The EU announced earlier that it would proportionally respond to American trade tariffs, as well as initiate proceedings as part of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

"We are close partners, allies - not enemies", Juncker said as Trump nodded and said, "Yes".

Trump warned at a cabinet meeting last week that he would move forward with 25 per cent auto tariffs if the meeting with Juncker didn't go well.

Mr Trump has called the meeting productive.

'When you have people snipping at your heels during a negotiation, it will only take longer to make a deal, and the deal will never be as good as it could have been with unity, ' Trump wrote.

The US Agriculture Department said it expects losses of about $11bn as a result of the trade disputes.

On another front, Trump's administration has hit even its close allies the European Union, Canada and Mexico with levies on steel and aluminium exports to the United States, prompting retaliation against iconic USA products including bourbon whisky and orange juice. His words suggested he was open to something resembling the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a proposed U.S. -Europe agreement on which negotiations have stopped.

On Tuesday, the Department of Agriculture announced it will set aside $12 billion for farmers and ranchers who have been financially harmed by tariffs imposed on American products as part of a global tit-for-tat between the US and trade partners in Canada, Europe and China.

The EU responded by imposing tariffs on over $3bn (€2.56bn) of USA goods, including iconic brands of whiskey and motorcycles.

Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben Sasse, a frequent Trump critic, said the president's "trade war" is "cutting the legs out from under farmers and the White House's 'plan" is to spend $12 billion on gold crutches'.

After the meeting, the US President tweeted: "Great to be back on track with the European Union". The two will hold off on further tariffs and the US will relent on steel and aluminum tariffs.

"They sold it as something very positive, but for me the announcement is not as big for now, because it's kind of a semi-truce", Marie Kasperek, associate director of the global business and economics program at the Atlantic Council, said by phone.

Coming up: The US is also considering additional tariffs of more than $200bn on Chinese products, as well as duties on foreign cars and vehicle parts, which represent more than $300bn in annual trade.

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