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Trump hails ‘very big day’ for EU trade after Juncker talks

Donald Trump met Jean-Claude Juncker at the White House.

US President Donald Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced they have agreed to work towards “zero tariffs” and “zero subsidies” on non-car goods.

They also said they would work to resolve US tariffs on steel and aluminium imports that have agitated European markets.

The US president, in a hastily called Rose Garden statement with Mr Juncker, said the EU had agreed to buy “a lot of soybeans” and increase its imports of liquefied natural gas from the US.

Mr Juncker, meanwhile, said the US and EU had agreed to hold off on further tariffs as part of trade talks aimed at averting a crippling trade dispute involving the lucrative car market.

Mr Trump told reporters it was a “very big day for free and fair trade” and vowed to “resolve the steel and aluminium tariff issues”.

He added: “We will resolve retaliatory tariffs. We have some tariffs that are retaliatory and that will get resolved as part of what we’re doing.

“We’re starting the negotiation right now, but we know very much where it’s going.”

Mr Juncker said he had an “intention to make a deal today and we made a deal today”.

He said: “We have identified a number of areas on which to work together, work towards zero tariffs on industrial goods. That was my main intention, for those to come down to zero tariffs on industrial goods.”

As US soybean farmers have struggled against retaliatory tariffs, Mr Juncker said the EU “can import more soybeans from the US and it will be done”.

He said the two sides had also agreed to work together to reform the World Trade Organisation, which Mr Trump has vehemently criticised as being unfair to the US.

Earlier in the Oval Office, Mr Juncker told Mr Trump that the two trading partners were “allies, not enemies” and said they needed to work together to address recent frictions involving Mr Trump’s threats to impose tariffs on car imports and EU plans to retaliate.

Mr Trump has placed tariffs on imported steel and aluminium, saying they pose a threat to US national security, an argument that the EU and Canada reject. He has also threatened to slap tariffs on imported cars, trucks and car parts, potentially targeting imports that last year totalled 335 billion dollars (£254 billion).

The president has repeatedly called the EU – which includes many of the US’ oldest and most committed allies – an unfair trading partner and even labelled it a “foe”.

The EU has warned that it will retaliate with tariffs on products worth 20 billion (£15 billion) if Mr Trump puts duties on cars and parts from Europe.

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