11:04 GMT +321 November 2019
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    President Donald Trump, right, and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker arrive to speak in the Rose Garden of the White House, July 25, 2018, in Washington

    German FM Says Trump Cannot Split Europe as EU Gives in to Pressure Over Tariffs

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    US President Donald Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced that during their talks in the White House on Wednesday, they reached an understanding on lowering barriers between the two sides.

    Commenting on the results of the Trump-Juncker meeting on his Twitter page, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas underscored that he perceives the US as "not an enemy," but as "our most important partner and ally outside the EU."

    At the same time, he warned that "we need to hold the EU together and confidently defend ourselves against punitive tariffs," which were earlier introduced by the US President.

    READ MORE: US Launches WTO Disputes Against Reciprocal Tariffs From China, EU, Canada

    "We have to set limits to Trump's method. He has to see that he cannot split Europe," Maas emphasized.

    His remarks came after Trump said that during his talks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Washington on Wednesday, the two sides "agreed, first of all, to work together towards zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers, and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods."

    Additionally, the US and the EU will cooperate so as "to reduce barriers and increase trade in services, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, medical products, as well as soybeans," according to Trump.

    READ MORE: Merkel: EU Ready to Discuss Tariffs With US, May Take Retaliatory Measures

    "This was a very big day for free and fair trade.  We set out to launch a new phase of close friendship between the United States and the European Union; strong trade relationships where both of us will win", he stressed, referring to the Wednesday talks.

    The statement came as Trump took to Twitter to announce that the EU and the US "love each other."

    He was echoed by Juncker, who said that he "had the intention to make a deal today and we made a deal today," a document which he said stipulates that the EU will build more terminals to import liquefied natural gas, or LNG.

    READ MORE: Harley-Davidson Move Shows US Facing 'Consequences' of Tariffs – EU

    French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, in turn, welcomed EU trade discussions with Washington, stressing that "any trade deal must be based on reciprocity."

    Earlier, Trump rejected criticism over his decision to impose tariffs against US allies, tweeting that the "end result will be worth it."

    READ MORE: How Trump's Trade War is Accelerating EU-China Rapprochement

    Every time I see a weak politician asking to stop trade talks or the use of tariffs to counter unfair tariffs, I wonder, what can they be thinking? Are we just going to continue and let our farmers and country get ripped off?" he wrote on his Twitter page.

    On Wednesday, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom warning that if Washington finally decides to impose duties on European cars, the EU Commission will introduce tariffs on US goods worth at least 20 billion dollars (about 17 billion euros).

    READ MORE: 'Positions Not Similar': G20 Finance Ministers Fail to Defuse Trade War Threat

    In mid-July, President Trump announced that Washington was considering the introduction of 20 percent duties on all vehicles assembled in the EU.

    In June, Brussels slapped tariffs on iconic US goods, such as Harley-Davidson motorcycles, jeans and whiskey, worth $3.3 billion, in retaliation following Trump's decision to introduce 25 percent tariffs on steel imports and 10 percent duties on aluminum. The tit-for-tat moves have prompted speculation that a full-fledged global trade war is already looming.


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