President Trump announced during a Wednesday press conference that his meeting with European officials yielded key trade concessions, including an increase in American soybean and liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to Europe, and a commitment to work toward eliminating non-auto tariffs entirely.
“We have agreed today to work toward zero tariffs, zero tariff barriers and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods,” Trump said, reciting a joint statement crafted with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker. “We will also work to reduce barriers and increase trade in services, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, medical products, as well as soybeans. The European Union is going to start almost immediately to but a lot of soybeans, they’re a tremendous market, to buy a lot of soybeans from our famers in the midwest primarily.”
“The European Union wants to import more liquefied natural gas from the United States and they’re going to be a very big buyer. We’re going to make it much easier for them but they will be massive buyers, so that they will be able to diversify their energy supply,” he added.
Trump pledged to “not go against the spirit” of ongoing negotiations, presumably by refraining from implementing further tariffs, and said he would “resolve” existing “retaliatory tariffs.”
Juncker also vowed to work toward reducing existing tariffs, which were first implemented last month in tit-for-tat fashion after the Trump administration slapped 10 and 25 percent tariffs on steel and aluminum respectively and the EU retaliated by placing tariffs on just over $3 billion in American goods. The E.U. trade chief also confirmed that he had in fact committed to importing more soy-beans and natural gas from the U.S.
The agreement comes after a series of reports Wednesday morning that indicated Trump is advocating the implementation of 25 percent tariffs on foreign-made cars, against the advice of his trade advisers. The specifics regarding auto tariffs were reportedly still being developed as Trump’s meeting with Juncker came to a close.