Pres. Trump laments decades of US trade policy

President Donald Trump and European Commission president Jean Claude Juncker in the White House Rose Garden

President Donald Trump's meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday was expected to be contentious, coming less than two weeks after the former called the EU a "foe" that "clobbered" the USA on trade.

"On agriculture, I think we've been very clear on that - that agriculture is out of the scope of these discussions", European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva told reporters in Brussels on Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported.

U.S. import tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium imposed in March will remain in place during the talks, but Mr Juncker added: "It is the first time the Americans agreed to reassess the measure that they have taken in the steel and aluminium sector".

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

There was an "understanding", the EU's Juncker said, that "as long as we're negotiating, unless one party would stop the negotiations, we will hold off further tariffs [on cars]".

But while the announcement seems to talk back Trump's tweet from Tuesday that "tariffs are the greatest," achieving the goal of free and fair trade will require significant negotiations and eventually congressional approval.

The damage to United States farmers prompted the Trump administration earlier this month to announce $12 billion (€10 billion) in farm subsidies, mostly to soybean growers.

The US administration has already applied high tariffs to European Union steel and aluminium exports, and is embroiled in a trade war with China.

He is particularly keen to shore up support among influential soybean farmers, who have been hit by Chinese sanctions - which came in response to Trump's own tariffs on Chinese goods. "The trade between us creates jobs on both sides of the Atlantic - 6.9 million of them in the United States, 4.7 million jobs in the European Union".

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Still, the deal announced on Wednesday with the European Union is an encouraging sign that America's trade partners may be able to placate the Trump administration with offers to buy more U.S. goods, averting a trade war that the International Monetary Fund has warned may undermine the strongest global upswing in years.

Details of the new trade deal were to be negotiated by "an Executive Working Group of very intelligent people on both sides", Trump explained. Last week, Trump said he was ready to impose a "tremendous retribution" against the EU.

"This was a good, constructive meeting", he added...

Juncker said, "I had the intention to make a deal today, and we have made a deal today".

"The word that we got from staff was, as it was coming together, [Trump] was saying, 'OK, what's the next meeting?' And they said, 'Mr".

Trump hosted Juncker at the White House this week to discuss trade and tariffs less than two weeks after Trump dubbed the European Union (EU) a US trade "foe" in a "CBS Evening News" interview with anchor Jeff Glor.

The daily reports that on the whole, Trump ditched his argumentative approach, which he used during the G7 and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summits; instead, he was "charming, well-briefed" and "made an effort" to reach a deal.

"On a related note, Reuters has reported that the U.S. administration will provide around $12bn of relief aid to U.S. farmers to partly offset the flow on impacts from the trade conflict with China/EU".

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