CBSN

Trump says U.S., EU working toward "zero" tariffs

Last Updated Jul 25, 2018 5:16 PM EDT

President Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker have agreed to work towards "zero" tariffs," Mr. Trump announced in a joint statement with Juncker in the White House Rose Garden Wednesday. Juncker said the two have agreed to hold off on further tariffs as they negotiate the details.

"We agreed today, first of all, to work together toward zero tariffs, zero, non-tariff barriers, and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods," Mr. Trump told reporters.

The news comes after Mr. Trump threatened tariffs on auto imports, and Reuters reported the European Commission is preparing retaliatory tariffs. Mr. Trump has long threatened to continue raising tariffs, claiming the EU treats the U.S. and particularly farmers unfairly.

"When I was invited by the president to the White House, I had one intention: I had the intention to make a deal today. And we made a deal today," Juncker said.

Mr. Trump noted a few specifics on the agreement he says the U.S. and EU teams reached Wednesday. Later in the afternoon, the EU issued their joint statement.

  • Mr. Trump said the two will "work to reduce barriers and increase trade in services, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, medical products, as well as soy beans, soy beans is a big deal. And the European Union is going to start, almost immediately, to buy a lot of soy beans, they're a tremendous market, buy a lot of soy beans from our farmers in the Midwest, primarily."
  • "Secondly, we agreed to a strengthened and strengthening of our strategic cooperation with respect to energy," Mr. Trump said. "The European Union wants to import more liquified natural gas, LNG, from the United States, and they're going to be a very, very big buyer. We're going to make it much easier for them but they're going to be a massive buyer of LNG so they'll be able to diversify their energy supply."
  • "Thirdly we agreed today to launch a close dialogue on standards in order to ease trade, reduce bureaucratic obstacles, and slash costs dramatically," the president said. 

Mr. Trump also said the U.S. will "resolve the steel and aluminum tariff issues and we will resolve retaliatory tariffs."

The U.S. and EU, Mr. Trump said, are establishing an executive working group to hash out details on trade and assess existing tariffs "to the betterment of both."

"We're starting the negotiation right now but we know very much where it's going," Mr. Trump said.

Mr. Trump said the EU and U.S. are launching a "new phase in the relationship" between the two nations, one of close "friendship." Less than two weeks ago, Mr. Trump told CBS News' Jeff Glor he considers the EU a "foe" because of how the collection of nations has treated the U.S. on trade.

Moments before the joint statement was to start, the White House issued a press release blasting other nations, including the EU, over tariffs related to agriculture.

The president has continued to rant over trade on Twitter, as even members of his own party declare tariffs ineffective at best, and harmful at worst.

"Every time I see a weak politician asking to stop Trade talks or the use of Tariffs to counter unfair Tariffs, I wonder, what can they be thinking? Are we just going to continue and let our farmers and country get ripped off? Lost $817 Billion on Trade last year. No weakness!" the president tweeted Wednesday morning.