The US and the EU are bracing for talks on a bilateral trade accord as US President Donald Trump has stated he expects big trade deals with both the EU and the UK once the Brexit process is complete.
Speaking at a POLITICO event in Brussels, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker opened up about the US president: “I like him as a person”, he offered, while explaining “I cannot present in front of you the long list of mistakes of Mr. Trump.”
Juncker said that “in relations with the US, you have to describe the European landscape, because this landscape is not so known to our American friends … And the American president is not used to interlocutors telling him, ‘You are not right, Donald.’”
Juncker also made mention of encountering the US President when attending a meeting of leaders of the Group of Seven advanced economies in Canada in June 2018:
Trump told me: “Jean-Claude – you are a brutal killer”, Juncker said. “It was the first time Luxembourg had become such a danger to the United States. I think he meant it as a compliment, but I am not sure.”
But the European Commission president said Europeans were adopting an erroneous stance regarding the US president: “I think the Europeans make one mistake … he deserves respect because he is the president of the US.”
Jean-Claude Juncker also joked that that prior to setting off for trade talks in the US capital in 2018, his wife had warned him “Don’t kiss Donald Trump.”
When asked if he had disregarded his spouse’s warning, Juncker quipped that he had not, it was Trump that did the kissing.
Juncker also said he had no interest in using tweets – something the US President is known for, and generally admitted he rarely looked at Twitter because of the rude things people say about him.
“I am never reading these tweets, because I don’t like to read every day that I am drunk, that I am corrupt, and that I am a nobody,” Juncker said, adding he had his media team doing this instead.
Turning to the issue of EU trade, Juncker explained why agriculture was so sensitive an issue, and could not be included in its trade deals with the US.
“The entire world is asking us to make concessions on agriculture. Trump and the Chinese … there were other issues that were relevant for our partners worldwide … for France, because France is France, Ireland, Belgium, others, we have to take these concerns into account, and I made a deal with Donald Trump last year, in July, I think.”
“I was able to convince Donald Trump that agriculture was a no-go,” he said.
Trade tensions have been mounting between the US and Europe, despite Donald Trump’s attention on trade, which has largely focused on China in recent weeks.
There is a growing rift between the United States and the other powers, many of which Trump accuses of wielding trade policies that unfairly disadvantage the United States.
The US–China trade standoff is also causing concerns in Europe as the EU is a top trading partner of both China and the US.
The US and the EU are bracing for talks on a bilateral trade accord amid encouraging remarks from US President Donald Trump.
His administration has repeatedly said the US is open to striking “free and fair” trade deals with its largest trading partners, with Trump claiming he expects big trade deals with both the EU and the UK once the Brexit process is complete.