Trump says China is 'vicious,' using United States farmers as trade pawns

President Trump welcomes Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission to the White House to discuss trade.

"If we could have no tariffs, and no barriers, and no subsidies, the United States would be extremely pleased", he said as he met Mr. Juncker in the Oval Office.

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 European Union "in due course", Juncker said in remarks to reporters after the much-heralded meeting.

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 said it his "intention to make a deal" that would work towards zero tariffs on industrial goods.

Previously, the European Union had been threatening to impose major tariffs on $US20 billion of USA goods if Washington pushed ahead with trade levies on imported cars. "We need the administration to come to these deals quickly".

Juncker said it was a "good, constructive meeting".

A further hearing is scheduled to take place in late August on a newly proposed 10 per cent tariff on Chinese imports worth US$200 billion.

"TTIP was way too wide, and negotiations were stuck, as Americans were not keen to discuss greater access to their public procurements, while Europeans were reluctant on the US importing more agricultural products", said a European Commission official.

As Trump looks to shore up support for a re-election bid, Recker says Iowans will want to see results from the president's promise that farmers will gain financially from the trade negotiations. The escalating trade war and tariffs on steel and aluminum had put pressure on auto companies' earnings.

The agreements come in the wake of heightened tensions between the U.S. and EU.

Trump also announced good news for American farmers. Farmers planted more than 89 million acres of soybeans across the United States in 2018, narrowly edging out the 88 million acres of corn that were planted, according to an annual survey by the Department of Agriculture. In response, other nations have slapped retaliatory tariffs on a wide range of US products.

A similar situation exists regarding liquefied natural gas, said a European diplomat working on trade issues.

However, several European Union members, notably Poland and the Baltic states, have welcomed USA gas imports as a way to break free from decades old reliance on Russia's gas monopoly in Europe.

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".

Corporate America is caught in the crossfire of President Donald Trump's trade war.

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Critics said Trump's aggressive approach makes it tough for other countries to offer concessions, lest they be seen by their own people as caving in to bullying.

"Without strong European answers, there is a danger that only we will make concessions and in response face new unreasonable demands from the U.S.", he said, calling for a comprehensive agreement that followed the guidelines of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

He has also threatened to slap tariffs on imported cars, trucks and auto parts, potentially targeting imports that previous year totalled £254 billion.

  • Zachary Reyes