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Trump Warns of Trade Action Against Europe

Thursday, February 01, 2018
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

President Trump suggested recently that the U.S. could take some sort of trade action against the European Union, but EU officials said they are prepared to respond in kind.

In a TV interview Trump said he has “had a lot of problems with the European Union,” stating in particular that “it’s very, very tough” for U.S. products to access the EU market. However, press reports note that in 2016 the 28-member bloc took in nearly 19 percent of U.S. exports, including $304 billion in goods. It is thus possible that Trump was not speaking of any particular EU policies but instead alluding to the U.S. goods trade deficit with the EU, which totaled $143 billion in 2016.

Trump said this “very unfair situation” could “morph into something very big from … a trade standpoint,” though he offered no further details and it was not immediately clear what potential measures he might be referencing. EU spokesman Margaritis Schinas responded that “the EU stands ready to react swiftly and appropriately in case our exports are affected by any restrictive trade measure from the United States.” The EU believes trade “has to be open and fair,” Schinas said, but “it also has to be rules-based.”

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