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European Union agrees to buy more United States soy, import more liquified gas

28 July 2018

The leaders pledged to expand European imports of USA liquefied natural gas and soybeans and both vowed to lower industrial tariffs, excluding autos.

While Washington and Brussels pursue these aims, the leaders agreed "we hold off further tariffs and reasses existing tariffs on steel and aluminum", Juncker said.

Trump warned at a cabinet meeting last week that he would move forward with 25 percent auto tariffs if the meeting with Juncker didn't go well.

While the White House offered few specifics about the agreement, the joint appearance did represent a break from the cutting rhetoric Trump and some European leaders used this year and, for now, appeared to soften concerns about an all-out trade war between the major economies and allies.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump has accused China of "vicious" tactics, tweeting that China was specifically targeting United States farmers with retaliatory tariffs because "they know I love & respect" them.

After Trump announced plans to impose $50 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports, Beijing retaliated with plans to impose tariffs on a range of agricultural products from the U.S. including soybeans, grains, meats and dairy products. "It would be around $20 billion", she said.

Jean-Claude Juncker, who heads the EU's executive arm, will meet President Donald Trump in an attempt to overcome their differences, specifically on auto tariffs.

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Trump's enthusiasm about Wednesday's trade negotiations are a significant change from remarks he made on Twitter just 24 hours earlier, when declared "tariffs are the greatest".

The tone between Trump and Juncker was friendly, a marked turnabout from the harsh rhetoric the European Union and US have exchanged in recent weeks.

"End the trade war and let's get to work on real solutions to stop unfair trade practices", Kasich said.

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced Tuesday a $12 billion plan to borrow money from the U.S. Treasury to pay producers of commodities including soybeans, corn and wheat to compensate for losses due to trade disputes.

"If you look at what's teed up, particularly with China and with the auto tariffs, pretty soon you are talking about some pretty large numbers".

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom, who is accompanying Juncker, said the EU is drawing up a list of $20 billion in United States products to be targeted for retaliation if the trip fails.

The Trump administration has threatened new tariffs, and the president is reportedly considering up to a 25 percent tariff on automobile imports - one that could spark more retaliation and affect already hard-hit communities in vehicle manufacturing hubs like Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky.

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"We have good arguments, clear numbers and we have ideas, too".

"I don't think our farmers and ranchers long-term want these programs".

"I understand what he's trying to do", Ryan said of the president, "and the goal he's trying to achieve is a good one: a better deal for Americans, better trade agreements".

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, briefing reporters aboard Air Force One, said more jobs have been created by the steel and aluminum tariffs than are being lost and he said the tariffs were instrumental in the European Union talks.

Even so, economists say there is the possibility Trump's trade war could become a drag as exports fall and manufacturing slows, while prices rise fueling inflation, and mounting interest rates drive up borrowing costs.

South Carolina's Greenville News spotlighted tariffs impacting BMW, which assembles some of its automobiles there. China, meanwhile, retaliated with duties on pork and soybeans.

The EU in particular has responded with retaliatory tariffs on a wide range of US products, including bourbon, blue jeans, cigarettes, and motorcycles.

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European Union agrees to buy more United States soy, import more liquified gas