U.S., European Union agree to ease trade tensions

US President Donald J. Trump speaks at the Granite City Works steel plant in Granite City Illinois USA 26 July 2018

An unnamed official said the European Union sided with Mr Trump over the recent imposed tariffs on Chinese imports, and agreed to cooperate with the USA to end Beijing's unfair trade practices.

The United States signaled on Thursday it is set to push ahead on trade talks with Canada and Mexico after agreeing to suspend hostilities over tariffs with Europe in a fragile deal that may clear the way for renewed pressure on China.

Qualcomm needed Beijing's okay because China accounts for almost two-thirds of its revenue, but a deadline at midday on Thursday in Asia passed without word from China's regulator.

But a growing number of leaders in the agriculture industry say they're seeing prices drop for their crops and seeing markets close around the world as more countries raise retaliatory tariffs.

"Imposing tariffs will increase costs for consumers, lessen consumer choice, lower consumer demand, reduce vehicle and light truck production and sales, lower investment levels, and lead to job losses in the USA auto sector", said Matt Blunt, president of the American Automotive Policy Council, in June. And though Germany cheered that Juncker had bought their auto makers time while talks are launched on freeing up trade, France sounded more cautious on possible new United States farm imports.

Soon after he tweeted: "European Union representatives told me that they would start buying soybeans from our great farmers immediately".

Donald Trump and European Union officials on Wednesday agreed to work towards zero tarffis on non-auto industrial goods and reduce trade barriers. Trump has threatened 20 per cent to 25 per cent tariffs on imported vehicles and auto parts, which he has labeled a threat to America's national security. These tariffs - effectively a tax on imports - have hurt many American manufacturers that require imported steel and aluminum to build cars, boats, machines and many other goods.

U.S., European Union agree to ease trade tensions
U.S., European Union agree to ease trade tensions

German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier, meanwhile, hailed the talks as a breakthrough that could avoid a trade war and save millions of jobs. Great for global economy'. That would cut United States imports of European cars and vehicle parts in half, the commission forecast. "Normally trade discussions take months or a year".

Trump also won a commitment from Juncker to work together to reform the World Trade Organization to address some of his complaints about China on theft of U.S. technology, the behavior of state-owned enterprises, and overcapacity in steel.

Trump's threat to impose tariffs on auto imports on national security grounds would hit European carmakers BMW Daimler and Volkswagen as well as Japanese and South Korean vehicle companies. "That would be very worrisome, that would be rewarding Trump threats on tariffs", said Rem Korteweg, head of the Europe in the World unit at think-tank Clingendael.

The two leaders did not specifically mention vehicle tariffs in their statements, keeping the focus on other industrial products.

The commission chief went on, "This is part of today's agreement: to increase the import of liquefied gas and soya beans".

A Trump administration-led trade war with China and USA tariffs on steel and aluminum are putting pressure on earnings for automakers, prompting General Motors to slash its outlook and, among other factors, cutting into Ford Motor Co.'s earnings. On Tuesday, his administration said it would use a Depression-era program to pay farmers up to $12bn, easing the pain for a politically important Trump constituency.

At one point, the European president told Trump, "If you want to be stupid, I can be stupid, as well", according to the Journal report.

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