Published: Thu, July 26, 2018
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Trump suggests no tariffs between US, Europe

Trump suggests no tariffs between US, Europe

US President Donald Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker met at the White House on Wednesday where the two voiced optimism that common ground could be found on the contentious issue of trade tariffs.

Earlier in the Oval Office, Juncker told Trump that the two trading partners were "allies, not enemies" and said they needed to work together to address recent frictions involving Trump's threats to impose tariffs on auto imports and European Union plans to retaliate.

The U.S. and European Union will "hold off on other tariffs"' while negotiations proceed, as well as re-examine U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs and retaliatory duties imposed by the EU "in due course", Juncker said.

He said this was a "short-term" solution to help farmers and give President Donald Trump time to negotiate a longer term trade deal to help agriculture and other sectors hurt by unfair trading practices by China and others. Juncker, after Trump imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, said in March that "this is basically a stupid process, the fact that we have to do this".

Trump added: "This was a very big day for free and fair trade, a very big day indeed".

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On Tuesday, the Trump administration said it will use a Great Depression-era program to pay up to 12 billion dollars to help US farmers weather the growing trade war.

The move is quite clearly created to prop up a key sector of Trump's support base, as the fallout from his trade war starts to settle.

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

Trump has insisted in recent months on the need for the EU to agree to his demands to facilitate U.S. access to the European market and has threatened to impose tariffs of up to 20 per cent on imports of European automobiles if the bloc did not make concessions to Washington. "And he said, 'I'm surprised, I've never heard of anybody who didn't want a payment from government'".

The EU would increase purchases of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States, President Trump said, making them a "massive buyer". Cherry producers also felt the pinch during their short cherry season, as they face an additional 25 per cent tariff in China.

"Our emphasis continues to be on trade and restoring markets, and we will continue to push for a swift and sure end to the trade war and the tariffs impacting American agriculture".

While the U.S. claims the retaliation was "illegal", the Trump administration has acknowledged it is doing damage to American farmers, and announced on Tuesday it will provide up to US$12 billion in aid to farmers hurt by trade tariffs.

"And as we did today at the White House".

Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said the $12 billion package provides a welcome measure of temporary relief, but added they can not overstate the dire consequences that farmers and ranchers are facing with lost export markets. Fall is the biggest season for American soybean farmers.

Mr Trump promised to have the back of every American farmer and rancher, and he knows the importance of keeping our rural economy strong, he said.

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