US, EU to first tackle steel, aluminum tariffs: Secy Mnuchin

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During Wednesday's negotiations with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, US President Donald Trump proposed scrapping licenses on liquefied natural gas shipped from the US to Europe.

Trump's latest tweets came a day after his administration's first acknowledgement that the aggressive trade actions are causing domestic pain, with the announcement of $12 billion in aid for farmers who have been the primary targets of Chinese retaliation. US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin disappeared for more than half an hour in a room to work on a joint statement. After nearly three hours of talks, Trump said he wanted to hold a joint press conference with Juncker to announce the good news.

"Over the years the United States has been losing hundreds of billions of dollars with the European Union and we just wanted it to be a level playing field for farmers, manufacturers, for everybody", Trump said. "We also will resolve the steel and aluminum tariff issues, and we will resolve retaliatory tariffs".

Donald Trump and European Union officials on Wednesday agreed to work towards zero tarffis on non-auto industrial goods and reduce trade barriers. But he said reaching a detailed trade agreement with the European Union would likely prove hard.

The EU's Juncker said in March, after Trump imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, that "this is basically a stupid process, the fact that we have to do this".

"What I would say to our team is stop having a go at your own country, and go over to Brussels and say this is what we want, and if you don't like it we will make other provisions".

Price of US soybeans 2018 updated July 22
Price of US soybeans 2018 updated July 22 Jenny Cheng Business Insider

Rep. Andy Barr of Kentucky says he told the White House advisers that Wednesday's announcement "was a positive sign and we appreciate the administration lowering the temperature with the European Union".

He said the administration is now focused on resolving the steel and aluminum tariffs. As part of the deal, the EU has agreed to buy more soybeans and liquid natural gas from the US, while the States will presumably stop threatening additional tariffs on European automobiles.

U.S. Steel has credited Trump's decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports for its decision in March to fire up a local furnace that had sat idle for more than two years. He suggested they're being used as negotiation leverage for better trade deals.

France was one of the countries to immediately demand clarification after the talks, citing comments from Trump that the agreement would open up new markets for USA farmers. Trump has threatened 20 percent to 25 percent tariffs on imported vehicles and auto parts, which he has labeled a threat to America's national security.

Meanwhile, the USA remains embroiled in major trade disputes with China and other trading partners. "It means that they are competitive", Trump told Glor. "Any trade deal must be based on reciprocity", he said in remarks distributed by his office.

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