President Donald Trump on European trade deal: I’d be surprised if we have to implement tariffs

The European Union has ‘no choice’ but to negotiate a new trade deal with the United States,” President Donald Trump said Wednesday in an interview with CNBC..

On Tuesday, the US President met with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and told CNBC journalist Joe Kernen that they had «great conversation».

Amid ongoing informal discussions, Trump threatened to impose trade duties on European cars, addressing EU leaders. At yesterday’s meeting, he stated that he had told von der Leyen that, in the absence of a trade deal, he needed «take action» as «very high duties on their cars and other goods».

Trump said that with Europe there was «very difficult to deal with», but assumed that the block does not have «other choice», except to conclude a trade deal with the USA.

«We’ve had a huge deficit for many, many years – over $ 150 billion with Europe», – he said, adding that there will be «very surprised», if he really has to impose trade duties.

The U.S. Trade Deficit with the EU was $ 109 billion in 2018, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

According to the latest available data from the US Department of Commerce, exports of American goods and services to the EU in 2015 provided about 2.6 million jobs..

Trump agreed to begin negotiations on a new trade deal with von der Leyen’s predecessor Jean-Claude Juncker back in 2018 to avoid imposing trade duties.

Trump claims the EU has 'no choice' but to negotiate a trade deal

Since then, the EU has agreed on a new negotiating mandate to begin these trade talks, but the US has yet to communicate its readiness to start these meetings..

«I wanted to wait until I was done with China, I didn’t want to deal with both China and Europe at the same time», – US President told CNBC. “And frankly, Jean-Claude was my friend, but it was impossible to deal with him. First I wanted to do Mexico and Canada (trade deals – ed.). Now we’re all done and we’re going to make Europe».

Trump also confirmed that talks are underway with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on a possible bilateral trade deal after the country expectedly leaves the EU on January 31..

«Boris and I are friends. He wants to close a deal, and that’s okay for me. They want it, they need it», – added Trump.

Any trade agreement between the US and the UK can only enter into force at the end of the EU exit transition period, which will currently be in effect until the end of 2020..

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