Trump and European Union officials strike 'zero tariff' deal to avert trade war

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a joint statement in the Rose Garden of the White House with Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, not pictured, in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, July 25, 2018.

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. He added: "We're starting the negotiation right now but we know very much where it's going".

The two sides agreed to expand European imports of U.S. liquified natural gas and soybeans and lower industrial tariffs on both sides, Mr Trump said.

Mr Juncker said striking a deal on zero tariffs on industrial goods was his "main intention".

Trade damage from such retaliation has impacted a host of USA commodities, including field crops like soybeans and sorghum, livestock products like milk and pork, and many fruits, nuts and other specialty crops, it said.

The overtures are a last-ditch attempt to persuade him from imposing tariffs on European auto exports to the USA, in what could deal a serious blow to the bloc's economy.

Mr Juncker thanked the president and hailed a "good, constructive meeting".

But Juncker, who last week signed a new economic agreement with Japan, is not expected to make a specific trade offer as he meets Donald Trump. Trump promptly ordered a review of an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to target for import duties.

On March 1, Trump announced that the USA would be imposing a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on all aluminum imports.

Trump has placed tariffs on imported steel and aluminium, saying they pose a threat to USA national security, an argument that the European Union and Canada reject.

"I don't think 12 billion dollars will get them very far in an environment where United States agricultural exports to the rest of the world are being targeted in this way".

The Agriculture Department is announcing a $12 billion "short-term" plan to help USA farmers hurt by retaliatory tariffs.

'Every time I see a weak politician asking to stop Trade talks or the use of Tariffs to counter unfair Tariffs, I wonder, what can they be thinking?

Senators say the aid package could help short-term, but they're anxious about losing long-term access to export markets. The two leaders also promised "to launch a close dialogue on standards in order to ease trade, reduce bureaucratic obstacles, and slash costs".

Juncker came to Washington for a last-ditch bid to avoid USA tariffs on cars.

"The president writes that the U.S.is a "'piggy bank' that's being robbed".

"We arrived there, and then we became eye candy", Senate Agriculture Committee chairman Pat Roberts, R-Ks., said of the senators joining the impromptu event.

Its announcement would also serve as an indication that Trump has no plans to lift his tariffs any time soon, as senators from across the Farm Belt have pleaded with him to do.

Juncker said both sides agreed to "hold off on other tariffs" while talks proceed.

The response: Lawmakers, business groups and farmers have opposed the president's tariffs, and while some in the GOP backed the aid plan, a number of Republican free-trade proponents criticized it harshly and expressed concern that access to markets lost under Trump's trade war won't be restored.

  • Leroy Wright