EU, US ‘Launch New Phase in the Relationship’ with Trump – Juncker Meeting

EU, US ‘Launch New Phase in the Relationship’ with Trump – Juncker Meeting

The European Union and the United States have come together to “launch a new phase in the[ir] relationship”, the two partners said in a joint statement after Wednesday’s Trump – Juncker meeting which has resulted in avoiding a full-fledged trade war.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and US President Donald Trump announced immediately after their meeting at the White House that they had agreed to work in order to reduce trade barriers to “zero”.

“We met today in Washington, D.C. to launch a new phase in the relationship between the United States and the European Union – a phase of close friendship, of strong trade relations in which both of us will win, of working better together for global security and prosperity, and of fighting jointly against terrorism,” the EU and the US said in their joint statement, as released by the European Commission, the EU executive.

The statement reminds that the United States and the European Union with their more than 830 million citizens account for over 50 percent of global GDP, and that their USD 1 trillion bilateral trade relationship is “the largest economic relationship in the world.”

“If we team up, we can make our planet a better, more secure, and more prosperous place… We want to further strengthen this trade relationship to the benefit of all American and European citizens,” the EU – US statement goes.

It outlines a total of four points on which the EU and the US agreed upon at the Trump – Juncker meeting in D.C., including, “first of all, to work together toward zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers, and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods” and to “reduce barriers and increase trade in services, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, medical products, as well as soybeans.”

“This will open markets for farmers and workers, increase investment, and lead to greater prosperity in both the United States and the European Union. It will also make trade fairer and more reciprocal,” the joint statement says.

The EU and the US also agreed to strengthen their strategic cooperation with respect to energy, with the former declaring it wants buy more liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the latter “to diversify its energy supply.”

Trump and Juncker further agreed to start talks on trade standards to cut red tape and costs, and to “protect American and European companies better from unfair global trade practices.”

“We will therefore work closely together with like-minded partners to reform the WTO and to address unfair trading practices, including intellectual property theft, forced technology transfer, industrial subsidies, distortions created by state owned enterprises, and overcapacity,“ the EU and US said.

The two parties are establishing an Executive Working Group to follow up on the four points of agreement.

The joint statement suggests that no new tariffs will be imposed by either party as the negotiations are ongoing, unless they are terminated by one of the parties.

“We also want to resolve the steel and aluminum tariff issues and retaliatory tariffs,” the EU and US conclude, as earlier this year, Trump imposed tariffs on European steel and aluminium exports, which were followed by retaliatory tariffs by the EU.

Juncker and Trump met in the White House on Wednesday in a much anticipated meeting as tension had been building up for some time with Trump’s statements in favor of slapping higher tariffs on EU car exports to the United States.

Those had been followed by EU reactions signaling prepared to retaliate in kind, including by threatening to hit back US exports worth USD 294 billion with tariffs.

Shortly before the Trump – Juncker meeting in Washington, EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom, who accompanied Juncker, announced the EU was prepared to impose its own tariffs on US goods worth USD 20 billion (EUR 17 billion) if Trump went ahead with his plans.

Trump instructed earlier this year the US Department of Commerce to investigate the import of EU-made cars in terms of America’s national security, and last week he even declared the EU a “foe” to the US because of its trade policies – although German Chancellor Angela Merkel is one of the many voices to have pointed out that the US actually enjoys a positive balance with the EU when services are counted in.

“Obviously the European Union, as represented by @JunckerEU and the United States, as represented by yours truly, love each other!” US President Donald Trump tweeted together with a photo of him welcoming Juncker in the White House.

(Banner image: Donald Trump on Twitter)

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