Trump, Juncker agree to trade negotiations including agriculture
After a meeting at the White House, President Donald Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker agreed July 25 to, as Trump put it, “work together toward zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers, and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods including agricultural products.”
“We will also work to reduce barriers and increase trade in services, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, medical products, as well as soybeans,” Trump said.
“Soybeans is a big deal. And the European Union is going to start, almost immediately, to buy a lot of soybeans — they’re a tremendous market — buy a lot of soybeans from our farmers in the Midwest, primarily. So I thank you for that, Jean-Claude.
“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. My favorite word: ‘reciprocal.’”
Trump also said the United States and the European Union will launch “a close dialogue on standards, in order to ease trade, reduce bureaucratic obstacles and slash costs dramatically.”
“We have identified a number of areas on which to work together,” Juncker said. “Work towards zero tariffs on industrial goods. And that was my main intention, to propose to come down to zero tariffs on industrial goods.”
“We’ve decided to strengthen our cooperation on energy. The EU will build more terminals to import liquefied natural gas from the U.S. This is also a message for others.
“We agreed to establish a dialogue on standards,” Juncker said.
“As far as agriculture is concerned, the European Union can import more soybeans from the U.S., and it will be done. And we also agreed to work together on the reform of the WTO. This, of course, is on the understanding that as long as we are negotiating, unless one party would stop the negotiations, we will hold off further tariffs, and we will reassess existing tariffs on steel and aluminum.”
Trump made the announcement in the White House Rose Garden surrounded by Republican lawmakers, including Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan.
Of Roberts, Trump said, “He loves those farms. He loves the farmers, like I do.”
House members present included House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, and Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., of whom Trump said, “I have to call her ‘Governor’ now. That was a great win. Thank you, Kristi.”
Noem won South Dakota’s Republican primary for governor last month, and will face Democrat Billie Sutton, a state senator and former professional rodeo cowboy, in the November general election. ❖