The Latest: Trump says US, EU aiming for 'zero tariffs'
By Associated Press
Jul 25, 2018 3:36 PM CDT
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President Donald Trump and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker arrive to speak in the Rose Garden of the White House, Wednesday, July 25, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)  (Associated Press)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump's trade policy (all times local):

4:28 p.m.

President Donald Trump says the United States and the European Union have agreed to work toward "zero tariffs" and "zero subsidies" on non-automobile goods.

Trump also says the EU has also agreed to buy "a lot of soybeans" and increase its imports of liquefied natural gas from the U.S.

Trump says the EU will become a "massive buyer" of LNG to help diversify their energy supply.

The president announced the agreements at the White House on Wednesday following meetings with European officials prompted by Trump's trade dispute with the EU.

He declared it a "very big day for free and fair trade."

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2:10 p.m.

The head of the World Trade Organization is appealing to countries to speak out in favor of free trade and is warning about the vast negative consequences of a possible trade war after Trump administration tariffs imposed on key U.S. trading partners.

WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo said he refused — as a policy — to point fingers, but alluded to "this dynamic of trade restriction" that could damage the world economy if it endures.

He told reporters in Geneva, "We are calling everyone who believes that trade is a force for good to speak up." Silence, he says, is "as damaging as any action that leads to a trade war."

He also warned about the "worst-case scenario" of a world without rules on trade, saying Wednesday that "the law of the jungle" would have devastating consequences for growth and jobs.

He said investors "are going to pull back, the economy is going to lose steam and over time jobs will be lost — millions of jobs will be lost."

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1:55 p.m.

European Union Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (zhahn-KLOHD' YUN'-kur) is telling President Donald Trump that the E.U. and U.S. are partners and allies, "not enemies," and must work together at the start of trade negotiations between the two major economies.

Juncker told Trump during a meeting in the Oval Office that the trade talks are important. He's suggesting the two sides discuss "reducing tariffs" instead of increasing them.

Trump notes the two continents together make up more than 50 percent of the world's trade. Trump says it would be good if they removed all tariffs and trade barriers as part of the discussions.

Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on imported cars, prompting the Europeans to suggest they may place tariffs on $20 billion of American goods in retaliation.

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1:40 p.m.

President Donald Trump is meeting with top European Union officials amid concerns of a growing trade dispute between the two economies over automobiles.

Trump says at the top of the Oval Office meeting with EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (zhahn-KLOHD' YUN'-kur) and trade chief Cecilia Malmstrom that he's looking for a fair trade deal with the EU and is hopeful the leaders can work something out.

He says he'd prefer there be no tariffs or barriers at all.

European leaders are trying to talk Trump out of imposing tariffs on imported cars and auto parts, worried it would hurt both economies.

The European leaders have warned they're ready to put tariffs on $20 billion of American goods if Trump puts the duties on car imports.

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1:25 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan met with President Donald Trump Wednesday at the White House. McConnell told reporters afterward it was "pretty much a routine meeting" over the administration's legislative agenda.

The GOP leader declined to say whether trade was discussed.

Earlier Wednesday, the Senate's No. 2 Republican, John Cornyn of Texas, said he expected the meeting would focus on trade — with an "expression of concern about the endgame."

The administration this week announced $12 billion aid for farmers amid fallout from Trump's tariffs. Some Republican lawmakers have criticized the proposal, saying farmers want markets for their crops, not payoffs for lost sales and lower prices.

Trump did ask about the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, McConnell said. "He was interested in my thoughts on the Kavanaugh nomination, which I think is going along nicely," McConnell said.

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10:55 a.m.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) says the world faces "a choice between cooperation and confrontation" in remarks that criticized escalating U.S. tariffs on goods from China and other major trading partners.

At the annual summit of the BRICS emerging economies, held this year in Johannesburg, Xi said those who pursue "economic hegemony" will "only end up hurting themselves."

"The current international order is not perfect," the Chinese president said. But, Xi said, it should not be discarded "as long as it is rule-based, aims to be equitable and pursues win-win outcomes as its goals."

He said "unilateralism and protectionism are mounting," which he said hurts world trade.

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10:30 a.m.

Ohio's Republican governor is blasting President Donald Trump's tariffs and his plan to provide $12 billion in direct payments to farmers and ranchers hurt by foreign retaliation.

Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sik) says Trump's imposition of tariffs on products from such allies as Canada under national security grounds was "completely absurd," and that now the president is resorting to "farm welfare" when U.S. farmers want trade. The frequent Trump critic and 2016 rival for the GOP presidential nomination spoke as the 12-day Ohio State Fair opened in Columbus.

The Department of Agriculture on Tuesday announced a $12 billion, three-part plan to borrow money from the U.S. Treasury to pay farmers being hurt by the trade battles with China, Mexico, Canada and the European Union.

Kasich says that will only compound tariff damage.

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7:10 a.m.

President Donald Trump is calling China "vicious" on trade and says it is targeting U.S. farmers specifically because "they know I love & respect" them.

Trump is also pushing back against critics of his latest plan to provide $12 billion in emergency relief for farmers, telling them to "be cool" because "the end result will be worth it!"

Farm-state Republicans say farmers want markets for their crops, not government payoffs for lost sales.

On Twitter, Trump says people "snipping at your heels during a negotiation" will only delay the process. He writes: "Negotiations are going really well, be cool. The end result will be worth it!"

He also tweeted: "China is targeting our farmers, who they know I love & respect, as a way of getting me to continue allowing them to take advantage of the U.S. They are being vicious in what will be their failed attempt. We were being nice - until now!"

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1:24 a.m.

Some Republicans in farm states are dismissing the Trump administration's plan to provide $12 billion in emergency relief in the wake of trade disputes between the U.S. and other countries, particularly China.

The GOP lawmakers say farmers want markets for their crops, not payoffs for lost sales and lower prices. Administration officials deny that the plan is a bailout.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says the plan is meant for short-term relief while President Donald Trump and other officials work on trade deals.

The government's action points to administration concern about damage to U.S. farmers from Trump's trade tariffs and the potential for losing House and Senate seats in the Midwest and elsewhere.

The program is expected to start taking effect around Labor Day.

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