Trump Makes Major EU Trade Announcement

Watch Trump's announcement: 


Global markets are reeling Friday morning after President Trump announced his plan to slap 10% tariffs on the remaining ~$300 billion in Chinese imports, sparking fears that the world's two largest economies would hunker down for a prolonged and destabilizing trade war. But adding to the market's anxieties, journalists noticed an entry on President Trump's itinerary ominously titled "announcement on European trade" slated for 1:45 pm ET.

Of course, it's difficult to imagine that a president as obsessed with the stock market as Trump would delivery such a brutal one-two punch to investor confidence by, say, slapping tariffs on European autos. But without any clarification, the worst fears of analysts were left to fester.

But in a report that nearly slipped under the radar, Bloomberg has apparently learned the purpose of Friday afternoon's trade announcement. And it's far less exciting than many had feared.

President Trump and Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer will announce a deal that will open the EU to more beef exports, something that will undoubtedly thrill the American beef industry which, like most of the American farming community, has firmly supported the president.

Here's more from BBG:

U.S. President Donald Trump will formally announce a deal to open up the European Union to more beef exports after the bloc carved out quotas from other nations earlier this year, people familiar with the plans said.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and the European ambassador to the United States on Friday will sign an agreement to increase the amount of American beef that can be sold in the EU market, the people said, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of the announcement Friday.

Trump ’s daily itinerary for Friday includes "an announcement on EU Trade," though the White House did not specify what the event was about. A White House spokesman and the USTR did not immediately respond to requests for comment late Thursday.

The deal, which has been in the works for months, follows the EU's success in persuading Australia, Argentina and Uruguay to give up some of the market (with Trump's tariff threats hanging over their heads, handing Trump a victory on trade was probably in Europe's best interest).

Lighthizer called for a formal deal-signing ceremony to show that the administration is making progress on its trade agenda.

American farmers will be entitled to almost 80% - or 35,000 metric tons - of the annual EU quota on hormone-free beef over seven years, with an initial allocation of around 40%, European officials told reporters in June. The Trump administration in June secured more access to the European Union’s beef market after the bloc persuaded Australia, Argentina and Uruguay to cede chunks of the import quota.

According to people familiar with the announcement, Lighthizer called for the formal signing ceremony in an attempt to show progress on the bilateral trade agenda.

The deal is a huge win for American beef farmers, who lost out when the EU banned the import of meat from cattle exposed to growth hormones. The quotas were set to settle a transatlantic dispute over the ban, but gradually, US producers lost out to their rivals in Australia and South America.

The quota was set a decade ago to settle a transatlantic dispute over an EU ban on meat from cattle that were given growth hormones.

WTO rules required the volumes be made available to other nations that export beef, and Australia, Argentina and Uruguay gradually replaced the U.S. as the largest suppliers.

The timing of the announcement, which comes not only amid a flare-up in US-China relations but also not long after Trump threatened to tariff French wine in retaliation for taxes on American tech companies, is impossible to ignore, though it could bode well for the future bilateral trade relationship between the US and the bloc.

The announcement comes as Trump feuds with Europe over some trade issues, particularly with France. Trump has threatened to tariff French wine after that country imposed a tax on tech companies that will particularly impact American firms.

The US and EU are working on a limited trade agreement that would cut industrial tariffs but have reached an impasse over whether to include agriculture in the negotiations.

US President Donald Trump will formally announce a deal to open up the European Union to more beef exports after the bloc carved out quotas from other nations earlier this year, people familiar with the plans said.

Then again, there's always the chance that Trump could use the opportunity to chide the EU about its abusive trade practices, or even introduce some new tariffs.

Because wiith Trump, nothing is ever set in stone, until it's done.