President Donald Trump declared a big victory in the area of trade — a central focus on his 2016 presidential campaign — with the European Union.
Following the trade war that he started with the EU by raising tariffs on European goods being imported to the United States, he advocated for free trade and zero tariffs. Europe initially fought back and rejected that claim. This despite the EU signing a zero-tariff, free trade deal with Japan just a week before rejecting the same deal with the United States.
“Ultimately that’s what you want. You want tariff-free, no barriers, and you want no subsidies because you have some countries subsidizing industries, and that’s not fair,” Trump said at the G7 Summit in June. “So you go tariff-free, you go barrier-free, you go subsidy-free. That’s the way you learned at the Wharton School of Finance.”
EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker met with President Trump in Washington Wednesday to discuss trade policy between the United States and the EU. Following the meeting Trump declared the day to be a “very big day for free and fair trade.”
According to the president, the United States and EU agreed that free trade is the goal, as President Trump said before the meeting.
“We agreed today, first of all, to work together toward zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods,” Trump said.
Both Trump and Juncker said neither side will initiate any additional tariffs until a final agreement is worked out.
Juncker corroborated this report, saying both sides agreed to “hold off on other tariffs” until a final agreement is reached.
Recently, Trump threatened to add a 25 percent automobile tariff against the European Union. That threat appears to have motivated the EU to work toward a deal that would be favorable to the United States.
“We will not go against the spirit of this agreement unless either party terminates the negotiation,” Trump said. “So, we’re starting the negotiation right now but we know very much where it’s going.”
While the negotiations still have a long way to go, the signal from this meeting places a checkbox in the victory column for President Trump in the meantime. And the stock market shows its approval making gains by the end of trade.