Trade war averted as US, EU agree to work toward zero tariffs on goods

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker met Donald Trump at the White House

Trade war averted as US, EU agree to work toward zero tariffs on goods

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and US President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington DC | Image via @JunckerEU on Twitter

A transatlantic trade war has been averted after talks at the White House between US President Donald Trump and the EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

The two sides said they want to resolve the steel and aluminium tariff issues.

Mr Trump said they also agreed to zero tariffs on all goods, except cars.

"We want to further strengthen this trade relationship to the benefit of all American and European citizens.

"This is what we agreed today to work together towards zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods".

Mr Trump tweeted: "Great to be back on track with the European Union. This was a big day for free and fair trade!"

"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!"

Mr Juncker added: "When I was invited by the president to the White House, I had one intention: I had the intention to make a deal today. And we made a deal today.

"We have identified a number of areas on which to work together.

"Work towards zero tariffs on industrial goods. And that was my main intention, to propose to come down to zero tariffs on industrial goods."

He said it was "a good, constructive meeting."

A joint statement released after the meeting said: "The United States and the European Union together count more than 830 million citizens and more than 50% of global GDP.

"If we team up, we can make our planet a better, more secure, and more prosperous place."

"We want to further strengthen this trade relationship to the benefit of all American and European citizens.

"This is why we agreed today, first of all, to work together toward zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers, and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods.

"We will also work to reduce barriers and increase trade in services, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, medical products, as well as soybeans."

"Secondly, we agreed today to strengthen our strategic cooperation with respect to energy... Thirdly, we agreed today to launch a close dialogue on standards in order to ease trade, reduce bureaucratic obstacles, and slash costs."

It also explained that they would move to better protect American and European companies from unfair global trade practices.

"We will therefore work closely together with like-minded partners to reform the WTO and to address unfair trading practices, including intellectual property theft, forced technology transfer, industrial subsidies, distortions created by state owned enterprises, and overcapacity."

The managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, has welcomed the development.

She said: "I am pleased to learn that the United States and European Union reached agreement today to work jointly to reduce trade barriers and, together with other partners, strengthen the WTO.

"The global economy can only benefit when countries engage constructively to resolve trade and investment disagreements without resort to exceptional measures."