Donald Trump has said the US and EU have agreed to work towards zero tariffs, barriers and subsidies in trade relations.
The US President’s comments came after a meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker amid pressure in the US over the impact tariffs are having on the country’s farmers after he unleashed a trade war.
The President declared a “new phase” in US-EU relations
With Juncker by his side, Trump told reporters: “We agreed today, first of all, to work together toward zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers, and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods.
“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.”
Trump said the talks would “resolve” both the hefty tariffs the US had placed on imports of steel and aluminum from the EU and the tariffs Europe had slapped on U.S. goods in response.
It was not clear whether the two sides made any progress on the contentious issue of possible US tariffs on imports of automobiles from Europe.
But Juncker said they had agreed not to impose any new tariffs while talks were taking place.
“This was a good and constructive meeting,” Juncker said.
The negotiations at the White House came as Trump has provoked a series of trade disputes with global trading partners, including China, whom he accused of employing “vicious” tactics aimed at hurting American farmers.
Trump has placed tariffs on imported steel and aluminium, saying they pose a threat to US national security, an argument that the European Union and Canada rejects.
He has also threatened to slap tariffs on imported cars, trucks and auto parts, potentially targeting imports that last year totalled £254 billion.
The president has repeatedly called the EU – which includes many of the US’s oldest and most committed allies – an unfair trading partner and even labelled it a “foe”.
The EU has warned that it will retaliate with tariffs on products worth £15 billion if Trump puts duties on cars and auto parts from Europe.