On Wednesday, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will visit Washington to discuss trade policy with President Trump. Leaders from the European Union have refused to accept President Donald Trump’s zero-tariff deal on trade, despite the fact that the EU signed a zero-tariff agreement with Japan last week.
“The aim of President Juncker’s visit is to try to establish good relations, try to see how we can de-escalate the situation,” said EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom, who will be accompanying Jucker to Washington. “We don’t go there to negotiate anything.”
Malmstrom told reporters the EU is preparing a list of U.S. goods that will be the target of new sanctions should the U.S. respond with hostility.
All Trump is proposing is to end all import duties and trade barriers between the United States and members of the European Union, to sell and buy everything with no extra fees.
“Not going to get ahead of the president’s meeting, but this is something the president has said he would like to see,” said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
“Ultimately that’s what you want. You want tariff-free, no barriers, and you want no subsides because you have some countries subsidizing industries, and that’s not fair,” Trump said at the G7 Summit in June. “So you go tariff-free, you go barrier-free, you go subsidy-free. That’s the way you learned at the Wharton School of Finance.”
The EU’s rejection of Trump’s proposal is revealing. The European Union cares about making profits and doing what is best for their economy and to support industry growth within its borders, as it should. President Trump has the same mindset for the country he is representing: the United States. This is no shocking news, trade deals take time to negotiate and require leaving the negotiating table at times when no deal can be struck.
But the EU refusing to accept free trade is a lesson for Americans: we need to fight not to be taken advantage of in trade. And President Trump is sending a similar message to the EU: we will no longer be the world’s bank and will no tolerate losing billions of dollars on unfair trade deals.