Donald Trump strikes trade deal with E.U.

July 25, 2018

President Trump struck a trade deal Wednesday with the European Union, reaping significant concessions as top EU officials moved to avoid an escalating tariff war with the U.S.

The agreement seeks to eliminate all tariffs and trade barriers and eliminate all subsidies on non-auto industrial goods, which was the deal pushed by Mr. Trump.

“This was a very big day for free and fair trade,” Mr. Trump said in announcing the deal in the Rose Garden with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker by his side.

Mr. Trump called the deal a “new phase” in the U.S.-E.U. relationship.

The deal also included the E.U. importing more U.S. soybeans and working on an agreement to import more liquified natural gas (LNG) from the United States.

In another breakthrough, the E.U. joined the U.S. in pushing for reforms of the World Trade Organization, which would give Europe an alternative to relying on Russian energy.

The WTO has been a pet peeve for Mr. Trump, who complains its judges are tilted against the U.S.

“I had the intention to make a deal today and we made a deal today,” said Mr. Juncker.

The two leaders faced off over escalating dispute over tariffs and trade barriers that block U.S. goods. The big dispute is over cars, with Mr. Trump threatening massive tariffs on if for the EU didn’t lower high tariffs on cars.

Expectations of the announced deal, with reporters summoned to the Rose Garden for an announcement, sent the stock market soaring. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed more than 170 points after being down about 50 points early in the afternoon.

Investors weren’t the only ones jazzed by the unexpected deal.

“This looks like an important truce called at the highest level,” said Edward Alden, a trade scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations. “It leaves many problems unresolved, but launches a negotiating process to try to deal with them.”

Mr. Alden was most encouraged by the U.S. and E.U. agreeing to work together to reform the WTO. “That is long overdue,” he said.

As he headed into the meeting, Mr. Trump shrugged off intense criticism from business leaders, farmers and his own GOP lawmakers that he was igniting a trade war that hurts the U.S. economy.

The president said he was fighting to get America a better deal after decades of being taken advantage of by trading partners.

“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 two leaders faced off over escalating dispute over tariffs and trade barriers that block U.S. goods. The big dispute is over cars,with Mr. Trump demanding the EU lower high tariffs on U.S.-exported cars.

Mr. Trump, who insists he’s trying to fix bad trade deals, has threatened to slap up to a 25 percent tariff on cars and car parts if the EU doesn’t level the playing field.

The EU charges a 10 percent import duty on cars. The U.S. charges 2.5 percent.

Mr. Juncker’s team said they came to Washington looking to avoid a tariff war. But Mr. Juncker also had retaliatory tariffs on $20 billion worth of U.S. goods ready if they couldn’t strike a deal.

Update hourly