Stocks open slightly lower ahead of EU-U.S. trade meeting

Dwayne Harmon
July 28, 2018

Germany's economy minister described the agreement - which means Washington will not follow through on its threat to impose automobile tariffs that would hurt the dominant German vehicle industry - as a "breakthrough" that "can avoid trade war".

"We should talk about reducing tariffs instead of increasing them", Mr Juncker said, as Mr Trump nodded. Trump wrote in a Wednesday morning tweet.

Trump says he's in Granite City, Illinois, on Thursday "to celebrate a victory".

Mr Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on imported cars, prompting the Europeans to suggest they may place tariffs on 20 billion dollars (£15 billion) of American goods in retaliation.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley told reporters aboard Air Force One on the way back to Washington from Missouri that 'the president will stand up for the farmers'.

"I'm happy that we agreed to this agreement today".

Having already laid the groundwork for a further US$200 billion worth of further tariffs in early July, Trump said last week that he was willing to impose tariffs on all Chinese products imported to the United States, with the total value of good targeted reaching US$500 billion. The two leaders plan to discuss USA tariffs on aluminum and steel and Trump's threat to extend duties to European cars coming into the United States. "That's our job", Juncker added. "Great for global economy!"

In a tweet before leaving the White House on Tuesday, the president said that "Tariffs are the greatest!" and reiterated his argument that current trade policy disadvantages USA farmers and manufacturers.

He has long complained that the WTO has been unfair to the United States despite the fact the USA has won most of the disputes against China and others. U.S. stocks and bond yields rose on signs of optimism that a U.S. -EU trade war could be avoided.

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Mr Trump has repeatedly called the European Union - which includes numerous America's oldest and most committed allies - an unfair trading partner and even labelled it a "foe".

The details and mechanisms as well as the timing remain to be worked out, and the impact may not been seen for some time.

Juncker said after a lengthy meeting with Trump that the European Union has chose to increase imports of American soybeans and liquefied natural gas.

The trend appears to have continued in June when the Peak Pegasus, a cargo ship piled high with United States soybeans, raced across the Pacific but failed to reach the port of Dalian before China's counter-tariffs took effect at midnight local time on July 5, according to Bloomberg. The EU has a huge stake in the USA industry, where European companies produce nearly 3 million cars a year, accounting for over a quarter of production in the United States.

In May, Trump abandoned a framework for trade negotiations with China within days of it being announced, before ratcheting up tariffs.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that it will provide approximately $12 billion in funding to protect farmers from potential damage caused by tariffs imposed by China, Mexico, Russia and others.

WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo said Wednesday he is hoping to "stop this trend" of growing restrictions on trade.

USA farmers are expected to grow 14.2 billion bushels of corn this year and 4.3 billion bushels of soybeans, down some from last year but still huge crops.

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