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President Donald Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in the Oval Office of the White House, Washington, July 25, 2018 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

Trump’s Truce With the EU Offers Some Good News on Trade, for a Change

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

While recognizing that it could be undone at any time by a single presidential tweet, there appears to be a truce on at least one front in Donald Trump’s trade war. During a visit to the White House last week, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker pledged along with Trump to refrain from further escalation of the trans-Atlantic trade dispute and try to work things out.

Their joint statement was vague, and the U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs on the European Union, and the EU’s retaliatory tariffs, remain in place for now. Trump imposed those duties on supposed national security grounds, invoking his authority under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act. A similar investigation by the Trump administration into whether imported automobiles and auto parts “threaten to impair the national security as defined in Section 232,” which could result in a tax of 25 percent on foreign cars, is still underway. Trump’s threat to impose further duties on Chinese exports remains, and the outcome of his administration’s negotiations with Canada and Mexico to update the North American Free Trade Agreement is still uncertain. This one, tentative agreement with the EU won’t nearly undo all the short- and long-term costs of Trump’s trade wars. But after the ups and downs of the past few months, I’ll take it. ...

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