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WORLD | 02-08-2019 19:16

Trump says new agreement with EU will boost beef exports

The US President expects quick approval from the EU amid his growing trade war with China.

President Donald Trump celebrated a new agreement Friday that is projected to increase beef exports to the European Union by more than $270 million a year once it is fully in place.

Trump portrayed the agreement as standing up for farmers and ranchers. Producers have been hurt by retaliatory tariffs that China imposed after Trump imposed 25% tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese products.

The signing of the agreement comes the day after Trump increased pressure on China to reach a trade deal by saying he will impose 10% tariffs Sept. 1 on the remaining $300 billion in Chinese imports he hasn't already taxed.

"Opening markets for our farmers is about more than just an industry. It's about a way of life," Trump said at the White House before the U.S. trade representative and an EU official signed the agreement.

The European Commission, the executive branch of the EU, announced in June that it had reached an agreement with the U.S. to allow more hormone-free U.S. beef onto the European market. The EU continues to impose bans and restrictions on meat produced using hormones.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said he hoped the European Union would approve the agreement quickly.

The EU has been concerned about the prospect that Trump will slap tariffs on foreign-made cars and parts. In May, Trump said he agreed that imports of foreign cars and parts were harming the American auto industry and threatening national security. But he delayed for six months any decision on applying tariffs as a remedy.

Trump told reporters upon leaving the White House for a weekend in New Jersey that "auto tariffs are never off the table."

"The EU has tremendous barriers to us, but we just broke the first barrier," he said. "And maybe we broke it because of the fact that if I don't get what we want, I put on auto tariffs. Because it's all about the automobile and it's all about the tariffs."

– AP

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