In a sign of easing trade tensions between the U.S. and the EU, President Donald Trump’s chief economic adviser said new trade deals between the two governments would start immediately.
Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, revealed more details on incoming American-European trade when speaking Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” In his exchange with host Margaret Brennan, Kudlow touted the 4.1 percent economic growth seen in the second quarter — a number even Brennan characterized as “a win for the president.”
“The heart of this report as I said: consumer spending, business investment are on a tear,” Trump’s adviser explained, lauding the White House’s pro-market approach. “And by the way the president’s attitude — the war against businesses is over, the war against success is over, the war against energy is over.”
However, Kudlow was pressed over whether various “trade wars” would erode any economic progress the president has made since entering office.
“He’s got trade disputes even with some of our allies and that’s the thing that makes people worry that everything you’ve just laid out is going to go up in smoke,” Brennan countered. “Can you promise that NAFTA will be done ahead of the November races?”
After pledging that a big announcement with Mexico would come soon, Trump’s top economic adviser pivoted to Europe. Kudlow announced that not only did European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker agree to purchase American products sometime the future, but that the agreement was essentially a done deal.
“We will have an actual transaction, guaranteed. Starting out right away with soybeans, beef and liquid natural gas, LNG, which is a huge topic,” Kudlow assured, saying the timetable for such negations would begin immediately.
The interview came just days after Trump held a news conference alongside Juncker. The European leader on Wednesday agreed to a number of concessions, including increased purchases of U.S. soybeans, natural gas and a promise to minimize tariffs on non-auto industrial goods. More natural gas exports to the continent would not only boost the American shale oil boom, but also undercut Russia’s domination of the LNG market in Eastern Europe. (RELATED: TRUMP’S PROMISE OF LNG TO EUROPE WILL UNDERCUT RUSSIA’S ENERGY DOMINANCE)
Concerns over a “trade war” began in March when Trump announced a round of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, prompting Europe to impose their own tariffs on American exports. The Republican president had threatened to levy even more tariffs on European goods. However, dialogue between the governments has appeared to ease tensions.
Kudlow will be involved in incoming trade negotiations, but the talks will be led by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
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