Following months of disputes over trade, the EU and US have announced that they have decided to try and negotiate a new trade agreement. It’s hoped that a new arrangement would remove or lower many tariffs and barriers, or provide subsidies. There have been concerns for some time over the prospect of a trade war, which EU officials have expressed they want to avoid as a matter of urgency.
This new announcement from US President, Donald Trump, has come as a surprise to many, as he previously seemed reluctant to negotiate on trade. He said in a statement that he had reached an agreement with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker that would lower trade barriers between the European Union and the US.
“We agreed today, first of all, to work together towards zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers, and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods,” he said, adding: “We will also work to reduce barriers and increase trade in services, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, medical products, as well as soybeans. This was a very big day for free and fair trade.”
In response, Mr Juncker commented that he “had the intention to make a deal today and we made a deal today”; and that although the negotiations are still a work in progress, “we will hold off further tariffs and reassess existing tariffs on steel and aluminium.” Further talks of tariffs have been put on hold by both sides, which will boost trade for a number of industries.
Mr Trump said: “We had a big day, very big. We set out to launch a new phase of close friendship between the United States and the European Union, strong trade relationships where both of us will win.”
“ For years, the US has been losing hundreds of billions of dollars in trade with the European Union, and we just want it to be a level playing field for our farmers, for our manufacturers, for everybody and we also want a big beneficiary, frankly, to be the European Union and we think it can be good for everybody and that’s why we are here to discuss.”
He also said on Twitter following the meeting that: “The United States and the European Union have a $1 TRILLION bilateral trade relationship – the largest economic relationship in the world. We want to further strengthen this trade relationship to the benefit of all American and European citizens.
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