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Juncker tries to placate Trump's commercial onslaught under a climate of pessimism

The threat of new tariffs marks the meeting at the White House between the President of the European Commission and the United States

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Juncker tries to placate Trump's commercial onslaught under a climate of pessimism

Under a climate of growing pessimism and nervousness over multiple trade wars launched by Donald Trump, president of United States and European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, tried this Wednesday at White House to find points of Understanding that may lower tariff tension, although y exhibited ir divergences. "We expect something very positive," said Trump. "We should focus on reducing tariffs," added Juncker.

Skepticism and red lines conditioned meeting between two leaders. "I'm not very optimistic," said Juncker before appointment. And European Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, also present at meeting, had advanced that Brussels has already prepared possible new reprisals of 20 billion dollars (17 million euros) in event that Washington impose new Tariffs on European vehicles.

Inside Oval Office, with a very serious face, Juncker did not hide open gap with Washington. "We are close partners, allies, not enemies. We have to work toger, "he emphasized at beginning of meeting. It was his response to Trump's phrase two weeks ago when, after his turbulent visit to Brussels, he claimed that "European Union is an enemy in trade."

Along with community leader, Republican repeated his string of habitual grievances. "The United States has been losing hundreds of billions of dollars to European Union. We want a balanced playing field, "he said. And asked to lift "all tariffs, barriers and subsidies" between two blocks. It is something that he claimed in June at whooping summit in Canada, but is unlikely to be achieved since negotiations for a US-EU free Trade Agreement (TTIP) have sunk in past.

America and Europe live more and more in parallel universes. While questioning liberal order erected seven decades ago, Trump moves away from his European partners on economics, security, and diplomacy, and y admit that y must rely less on world's first power.

"The transatlantic relationship is in tatters. Even if tariffs are withdrawn, distrust will remain, "says Brett Bruen, a diplomat who worked as global communication officer for White House of Democrat Barack Obama. "Trump desperately needs a victory on world stage. Escalating tensions on or side of Atlantic would only undermine a position that has been significantly weakened, even within its own party. Republicans in Congress face a very difficult fight for re-election. While y may be able to explain a trade war with China, a European front will be hard to sell. "

The Sword of Damocles that pendió on meeting of Trump and Juncker is threat of White House to impose a tariff of between 20% and 25% to vehicles imported from Europe, which in case of EU would be to hit a business of 50 billion of dollars with The United States, particularly affecting German automobile industry. The Department of Commerce has finalized publication of an internal investigation into matter. The US currently rates 2.5% of imported EU cars and 25% of vans, while Brussels imposes a 10% rate on American cars. Trump usually talks about a trade deficit with EU of 151 billion dollars, but experts consider that figure to be inflated if or factors are taken into account.

It would be second phase of trade war that began in June when, under a controversial argument of national security, USA activated taxes on steel (25%) and aluminum (10%) from European Union, Mexico and Canada. In parallel, it has imposed or tariffs on China. The EU responded with its own reprisals worth 3.3 billion of dollars to iconic sectors of US economy, such as Harley Davidson motorcycles and bourbon whiskey.

Trump, a defender of protectionism for decades, seems determined to pursue his tariff crusade. The president is confident that imposing taxes will fold his partners to ir demands. It minimizes expert warnings about possible devastating effects of a trade war (increased product prices and job losses in US) and Republican politicians about a negative impact on next November's legislative elections. At moment, however, Trump has been forced to approve an emergency aid of 12 billion dollars to farmers affected by retaliation taken by China and Mexico.

Growing upset Republican

While Donald Trump calls for unity and hardness, more and more Republican politicians raise ir voices against trade tariffs imposed by President, contrary to party's economic orthodoxy. "I don't think y are an adequate response," said Tuesday's house leader, Paul Ryan. Harder, it was Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, who criticized aid of 12 billion dollars to farmers affected by trade war: "The tariffs and bailouts of this administration will not return to make America big, but will take it to 1929."

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  • Juncker visits Trump to curb trade war
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