BRUSSELS — U.S. President Donald Trump warned the European Union on Thursday that the United States would act to restrict entry for European cars if the bloc failed to treat his country fairly on trade.
Trump, who is set to host European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Washington this month, repeated his line that the EU was treating the United States unfairly on trade, shutting out U.S. farmers.
"That'll change also and I think we'll see that because on the 25th of July they're coming in to start negotiations with me. We'll see," he told a news conference at the end of a meeting of NATO leaders.
"And if they don't negotiate in good faith we'll do something having to do with all the millions of cars that are coming into our country and being taxed at a virtually zero level, at a very low level... I think it's been a very effective way of negotiating, but I'm not negotiating, I just want fairness for the United States."
Agriculture is typically an area in international trade where there are a lot of barriers in place and negotiation is tricky — simply because nations are keen to protect their own internal food sources. Some of the EU protections Trump may be alluding to are a 33 percent tariff on U.S. dairy products, while the converse U.S. tariff on European dairy is 17.5 percent. Also, the EU bans the import of most American genetically modified foods.
But even while Trump sought gains for American agriculture in Europe, his policies toward China have had adverse consequences for U.S. farmers. China last Friday implemented retaliatory tariffs on U.S. soybeans, which have driven down prices, according to a Reuters analysis of government data.
Chinese buyers have so far this year accounted for just 17 percent of all advanced purchases of the fall U.S. soybean harvest — down from an average of 60 percent over the past decade. China is instead loading up on Brazilian soybeans instead, and U.S. soybean futures have fallen 17 percent over six weeks to about $8.50, their lowest level in nearly a decade.
Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop