Kudlow: Europe Agreed to Help Us Confront China

Ann Santiago
July 28, 2018

And even if China wasn't a far bigger trade headache for Trump than the European Union, the meeting achieved little concrete for the US.

Trump warned at a cabinet meeting last week that he would move forward with 25 per cent auto tariffs if the meeting with Juncker didn't go well.

But "if he continues to demand tariff increases as he has been, or if he continues to agree with those who are against China, I definitely would not be able to accept (more orders)", she said.

Mr Smith added the United Kingdom needs to go to Brussels and demand what we want.

"The first issue that we'll begin negotiating is. the issue on the steel and aluminum tariffs and retaliatory tariffs", Mnuchin said on CNBC.

But French President Emmanuel Macron expressed skepticism, saying a good trade negotiation "can only be done on a balanced, reciprocal basis, and in no case under any sort of threat". Lawmakers from both parties do too and, perhaps more importantly, the USA automakers who would be the ostensible beneficiaries of the tariffs have come out against the idea.

Like the summit with North Korea, this meeting has been all noise and no substance from the U.S. side, a chance for Trump to bask in the spotlight without achieving any real results.

The EU will buy USA soybeans and natural gas from the United States with levies on steel and aluminium imports to remain in place in the wake of the visit.

USDA to provide $12bn to US farmers in response to tariffs

The U.S. "heavily insisted to insert the whole field of agricultural products" in the negotiations, Juncker later told reporters, according to the Journal.

While EU officials had threatened immediate retaliation to any auto tariffs, and said they would not negotiate with Washington under duress, they seem to have made a decision to appease the irascible US leader.

The United States earlier this month imposed 25% tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese products, drawing a tit-for-tat response from Beijing, which targeted politically sensitive U.S. agricultural products. "And the European Union is going to start, nearly immediately, to buy a lot of soya beans", Mr Trump told reporters after the meeting.

In an apparent bid to demonstrate improved relations between the USA and its European allies, Trump tweeted a picture of himself and Juncker in an embrace, with the EU Commission chief kissing Trump's cheek.

"It is not the European Commission that buys, but the industry, and traders who look for goods where they are the least expensive for their financial interests", one European soybean trader said.

"President Juncker made it very clear that he meant to help us, President Trump, on the China problem", Kudlow said in an interview on the Fox Business Network.

The European commitment to buy more soybeans allowed Trump to claim victory among a key constituency ahead of November's mid-term election.

A "flood" of lawmakers expressed similar trade policy concerns to Kudlow and Navarro in the meeting, said Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich.

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