Vague promises help EU’s Jean-Claude Juncker ease US trade tension

The tweet from Donald Trump that followed his meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was benevolent in tone, unlike after the G7 summit or the latest NATO meeting. Several hours after his guest had left the White House, the president of the United States was praising the joint declaration the two reached in an effort to avoid a trans-Atlantic trade war.

“European Union representatives told me that they would start buying soybeans from our great farmers immediately. Also, they will be buying vast amounts of LNG!” Trump wrote on Twitter. In another tweet, he added how it was “great to be back on track with the European Union.”

It was a stunning turnaround. Just days before, Trump wrote that tariffs were the “greatest” when negotiating trade policy. Now, the goal with the EU is zero tariffs on industrial goods, with the exception of cars.

So how exactly did Juncker manage to coax this about-face from Trump?

“This is the success of Jean-Claude Juncker and the EU,” said European Parliament MP Markus Ferber of Germany’s conservative Bavarian party, the CSU. “Pressure has a sort of learning effect on Donald Trump. It’s good that there’s now increasing recognition of the fact that the US can only be strong if it has strong partnerships.”

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(Photo: EC Audiovisual service)