BRUSSELS (REUTERS) - European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will visit United States President Donald Trump in Washington on July 25 to discuss strained trade ties.
“President Juncker and President Trump will focus on improving transatlantic trade and forging a stronger economic partnership,” the Commission said in a statement on Tuesday (July 17) that announced the date.
The US imposed import tariffs on EU steel and aluminium at the start of June and has also threatened to increase duties on EU cars.
Mr Trump met Mr Juncker last week in Brussels during a meeting of the Nato military alliance, firing off a Twitter salvo on the eve of his visit.
“The European Union makes it impossible for our farmers and workers and companies to do business in Europe (US has a US$151 billion trade deficit), and then they want us to happily defend them through NATO, and nicely pay for it. Just doesn’t work!”
EU officials have been trying to lower expectations over what Mr Juncker and Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom can achieve in Washington, noting Mr Trump’s rejection of many European arguments at last month’s G7 summit in Canada.
However, with Mr Trump threatening to target the politically and economically more sensitive car industry, the Commission, which conducts trade negotiations for all 28 EU states, is hoping to at least give Mr Trump pause for thought.
“If we can instil some second thoughts even, that would be a success,” an EU official said. “Is he really comfortable launching a US$100-billion trade war over cars?”