It started with a kiss: how Juncker wooed Trump

It started with a kiss: how Juncker wooed Trump

US President Donald Trump has reached an agreement with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker aimed at averting a transatlantic trade war, easing tensions stoked by Mr Trump's threat to impose tariffs on vehicle imports.

In a joint Rose Garden appearance with EU President Jean-Claude Juncker, Donald Trump announced significant trade concessions that would boost USA exports in several sectors.

Mr Juncker said the two sides agreed that as long as they were negotiating on trade, they would hold off on further tariffs, including potential United States tariffs on cars and auto parts.

Mr Trump and Mr Juncker said the talks would also seek to "resolve" USA tariffs on steel and aluminum and Europe's retaliatory duties - marking a step back from the President's signature import protections for American metals producers.

"I know that Trump's tariffs targeting China will have some effect, but we're not anxious at all, since we're producing foreign flags every single day", she said.

The deal involved the European Union importing more US soybeans, lowering industrial tariffs and working on an agreement to import more liquified natural gas (LNG) from America, according to a Dow Jones report.

"We will also work to reduce barriers and increase trade in services, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, medical products, as well as soybeans; soybeans is a big deal".

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom, who will accompany Mr Juncker, expressed hope for a "de-escalation" of the tensions, but said the EU is drawing up a list of more USA products that could be hit with retaliatory duties if the trip fails. China has been the biggest market for USA soybeans.


Some personal chemistry with a fellow veteran dealmaker and a quick sense that Donald Trump was ready to bargain helped Jean-Claude Juncker strike a surprise accord to avert a transatlantic trade war, for now.

Meanwhile, both Washington and Brussels will "hold off on other tariffs" while the talks are under way, Juncker said. China alone imported $12.3 billion of U.S. soybeans previous year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Mr. Juncker said the European Union and USA would strengthen cooperation on energy and look to import more soybeans, as well as other steps. They also agreed to resolve the dispute over steel and aluminum tariffs.

The EU agreement is "likely to embolden the White House" to use tariffs in the battle with China, Goldman Sachs wrote to clients.

Pennsylvania farmers greeted the Trump Administration's announcement Tuesday of $12 billion in emergency aid to agriculture with mixed emotions. Farmers in Iowa alone could lose as much as $624 million on soybean shipments to China, Donnelle Eller, an agriculture reporter with the Des Moines Register, told CBSN last month.

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.

Trump has already put taxes on imported steel and aluminum, saying they pose a threat to U.S. national security, an argument that enrages staunch USA allies such as the European Union and Canada. "We've not seen a lot of actual measures implemented but it should lift the confidence of manufacturers", said Royal Bank of Canada European economist Cathal Kennedy. 'This is what we feared all along: that this would just turn into more aid programs'.

Marcel Fratzscher, head of the Berlin-based DIW economic institute, said the meeting had produced "a deescalation but not yet the all-clear" and warned of USA possibly "manipulating" the World Trade Organization for its own goals and "further weakening multilateralism". "They haven't actually suspended military exercises in the Baltic states", Bremmer said. After Beijing retaliated in kind, Washington announced levies on an additional $200 billion worth of products and threatened more, targeting potentially all of China's exports to America - including flags.

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