- President Donald Trump announced Friday the European Union would open its beef market to American farmers in a bid to defuse one front in a yearlong trade trade dispute between the two sides.
- The move could ease tensions between the two sides, which have fought over trade for more than a year.
- The announcement came just a day after Trump escalated trade tensions with China.
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President Donald Trump announced Friday the European Union would open its beef market to American farmers in a bid to defuse one front in a yearlong trade trade dispute between the two sides.
"The agreement we’re about to sign keeps one more promise to the great patriots of American agriculture," Trump said of the deal, under which the US would get guaranteed share of the EU’s 45,000 ton quota for hormone-free beef. "They’ve really been looking forward to this for many, many years."
The announcement came just a day after Trump escalated trade tensions with China. Frustrated with negotiations between US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and their Chinese counterparts, Trump said in a tweet Thursday the US would expand tariffs to virtually all of its products.
That move has drawn sharp backlash from businesses and industry groups who have warned that tariffs act as a tax on Americans and create uncertainty. The Trump administration has rolled out two rounds of bailout payments for farmers since the start of its trade wars, which have caused US agricultural exports to fall sharply.
"My administration is standing up for our farmers and ranchers like never before," Trump said Friday.
The deal, which still needs to be approved by the European parliament, could ease trade tensions between the US and the EU. The two sides have labored to forge a deal over the past year, but have been gridlocked by issues such as agriculture. The Trump administration has held firm to demands for more access to European markets, an issue the EU previously pushed back on.
"I do not think we will reach an agreement if agriculture is not included," Ted McKinney, the undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs, told reporters during a June visit to Brussels.
Trump has separately threatened to levy a tax on car imports from the EU, which is home to auto giants including BMW and Daimler. The US has also prepared to broaden tariffs against the bloc as part of a long-running dispute over aircraft subsidies.
In recent months, Trump has repeatedly accused the European Central Bank of currency manipulation. He falsely claimed on Monday that the bloc was formed to challenge the US economically.
"We are competing with other………countries that know how to play the game against the U.S.," the president wrote on Twitter. "That’s actually why the E.U. was formed…."
A spokesperson for the European Commission referred requests for comment to the White House.
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