We Have A Deal: Trump And Juncker Agree To Avert A Trade War

Summary: so we have a deal, maybe. Trump and Juncker reached a deal to avert a transatlantic trade war, ease tensions stoked by Trump’s threat and impose tariffs on car imports.

The two leaders agreed to expand European imports of U.S. liquified natural gas and soybeans and lower industrial tariffs on both sides, Trump said. The U.S. and European Union will “hold off on other tariffs” while negotiations proceed, Juncker added.

"We had a big day, very big,” Trump said during the joint statement with Juncker at the White House Wednesday. He hailed “a new phase” of trade relations. The two leaders also said they would work toward “zero” tariffs on industrial goods, Bloomberg reported and added that they would try to “resolve” steel and aluminum tariffs he imposed earlier this year and retaliatory duties the EU levied in response.

The EU and US also agreed to launch new negotiations aimed at defusing rising transatlantic trade tensions: the two leaders said they had agreed to work together towards eliminating all tariffs, trade barriers and subsidies related to non-auto industrial goods. They also said they would work together to reform the World Trade Organization and reduce trading costs and regulatory barriers across the Atlantic.

There was no questions allowed after the press conference, which followed a three hour meeting between Trump and Juncker.

Juncker had came to Washington for a last-ditch bid to avoid U.S. tariffs on cars, although there was no explicit agreement reached on that particular topic.

Earlier in the day, Trump was said to be considering to slap 25% tariffs on as much as $200BN in foreign cars (in 2017, the total value of imported cars was just under $200BN).

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Watch a recording of the Press Conference :

Key soundbites from the press conference:

  • TRUMP: WE AGREED TO WORK TOGETHER TOWARD ZERO TARIFFS ON INDUSTRIAL GOODS
  • TRUMP: EU WILL INCREASE PURCHASES OF U.S. SOYBEANS
  • TRUMP: DEAL MADE TO STRENGTHEN STRATEGIC ENERGY COOPERATION
  • TRUMP: DEAL FOR CLOSE DIALOGUE ON REDUCING TRADE BUREAUCRACY
  • TRUMP SAYS U.S., EU TO WORK TOGETHER TO `REFORM' THE WTO
  • TRUMP: WE WON'T GO AGAINST SPIRIT OF DEAL WHILE TALKS ONGOING
  • TRUMP: WE'LL RESOLVE STEEL, ALUMINUM TARIFF ISSUES

Juncker repeated pretty much that Trump said:

  • JUNCKER: I'M HAPPY THAT WE REACHED THIS AGREEMENT TODAY
  • JUNCKER: AS LONG AS TALKS ONGOING, WILL RESIST FURTHER TARIFFS
  • JUNCKER: U.S.-EU AGREED ON NO NEW TARIFFS DURING NEGOTIATIONS
  • JUNCKER: WE AGREE THERE'S GLOBAL OVERCAPACITY IN STEEL SECTOR
  • JUNCKER: WE AGREE THERE ARE TOO MANY ILLEGAL SUBSIDIES
  • JUNCKER: WE AGREED ON NEED TO CRACK DOWN ON FORCED TECH TRANSFER

It appears that Europe is no longer part of the resistance.

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There was much pessimism going into today's meeting between US President Trump and EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker that any deal could be announced.

In fact, according to an analysis released earlier today by SGH Macro Advisors, hopes of anything tangible being announced are slim to none, as EU officials were dampening expectations right ahead of the widely anticipated summit over auto and trade tariffs between Trump and Juncker.

From what we understand, the EU is not coming with any “substantial offer” to Washington, but rather with some broad proposals intended to keep a dialogue alive and to avoid further escalation. EU officials are concerned about the raising of expectations last week by National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, and they see his comments to some extent as “bullying tactics” to pressure them into concessions in the negotiations.

And yet, according to Dow Jones and Reuters, Trump has managed to secure concessions to avoid a trade war, including agreeing to import more soybeans and lowering industrial tariffs as well as working more on LNG exports.

President Trump has secured concessions from Europe to avoid a trade war, with Europe agreeing to the following (per Dow jones):

  • Europeans agreed to work on more U.S. LNG exports
  • Europeans agree on lowering industrial tariffs
  • EU agrees to align regulator standards on medical products
  • EU agrees to import more U.S. soybeans

It was not immediately clear if auto tariffs are also included in the agreements, but stocks are surging on the news, and the January all time highs are now in sight:

As Bloomberg notes, while it's reasonable to wonder what the actual impact of European concessions might be, the knee-jerk reaction of markets is probably understandable.

Watch the press conference live below: