Although the trade tensions between the key allies, Washington and Brussels, seem to have calmed down since the US president put his plans to introduce new import taxes on European cars, his grudge against the bloc has not apparently died out.
US President Donald Trump has lashed out at the European Union, saying they “rip us off on trade, and we protect them with military”. POTUS rated the EU’s policies towards the US as worse than China’s while he was speaking to participants at the conservative Turning Point USA’s Teen Student Action Summit.
“European Union is worse to us on trade than China… You know, a lot of us come from the European Union. We come from Europe — our grandparents, our great-grandparents. So you think, ‘Oh, isn’t that nice?’ Except, they kill us — the European Union. It was formed in order to beat us economically, and yet we protect them with NATO”, he lamented during his rant on several foreign and domestic issues.
Trump accused the EU of “not paying their bills” for the protection the US ensured, and boasted that he “got them to pay” $100 billion in contrast to his predecessors.
“They rip us off on trade. They have trade barriers that make it impossible for certain groups, like farmers and others, to go in. They rip us on trade, and then we protect them and they rip us on that too. And they don’t pay their bills. Other than that, it’s a wonderful deal”, he noted, saying his administration is “getting it straightened out”.
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He took particular aim at Germany, branding it “the biggest offender”, and slammed it for spending too little on defense and failing to meet NATO’s 2-percent-target while the US share is 4.3 percent.
“Germany doesn’t want to pay. They’re supposed to pay 2 percent. They’re paying 1 percent. And I say, ‘You got to pay, Angela. You got to pay, Angela. Please pay, Angela’”, Trump recalled about his negotiations with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The World Trade Organisation has also received its fair share of criticism from Trump, who said it has been “a horrible thing for us” and “built China”.
Accusing other presidents of having done nothing, Trump insisted that China is not only now paying “billions and billions of dollars”, meaning the higher import tariffs but also “wants to make a deal badly”.
“And we’ll see whether or not we make a deal. We’ll see. We’ll see”, he concluded.
Following the 2018 tariff war with Europe, prompted by the current administration’s decision to impose higher duties on steel and aluminum, Trump warned this May that Washington would put tariffs on specific imported vehicles and parts which Trump claims are a threat to “national security”. However, the plan was put on hold while trade talks with the European Union and Japan recommenced.
Nevertheless, Brussels has recently revealed a plan to counter potential tariffs on EU cars put up by the United States; an imposition of extra duties of up to 35 billion euros ($39.1 billion) worth of US goods.
At the same time, the US is involved in a trade war with China, attempting to reverse the alleged disproportionate levels of trade as well as accusing its technology industry, specifically firms such as the telecom giant Huawei, of spying on behalf of the ruling Chinese Communist Party. Both Huawei and the Chinese government have vehemently denied the allegations.
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