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EU has ‘no choice’ but to sign a new trade deal with US

US President Donald Trump says Brussels will inevitably agree to negotiate a new trade agreement with Washington as talks between the two sides have long been at a standstill.

“They’re going to make a deal, because they have to. They have to. They have no choice,” Trump told CNBC on Wednesday, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.

The EU and the US have been locked in a trade row since 2018, when the US hit European steel and aluminum imports with additional tariffs. Brussels retaliated with extra duties on a range of US imports, from agricultural products to steel, aluminium items, and manufactured goods.

“We’ve had a tremendous deficit for many, many years, over $150 billion with Europe,” Trump said on Wednesday.

After the World Trade Organization announced that the EU provided unfair subsidies to planemaker Airbus, thus hindering sales by US rival Boeing, Trump imposed additional tariffs on $7.5 billion worth of goods from the EU last year.

The US has been threatening to hike existing levies and include new items in its tariff list. Last week, Trump reportedly vowed to slap sensitive European industries, like Germany’s auto exports with 25 percent tariffs. He repeated the threat during the annual meeting in Davos.

“We expect to be able to make a deal with Europe. And if they don’t make a deal we’ll certainly give that very strong consideration,” Trump said on the sidelines of the WEF, when asked about the plans to impose auto tariffs on EU imports. He also did not miss the opportunity to again mention how “badly” the US has been treated “as a country for many, many years on trade.”

On Tuesday, Trump met with European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen to discuss the tense trade relations between the two sides. The meeting did not bring any tangible results, however, with the EU official saying that she hopes to “engage in a positive US-EU agenda in trade, as well as on technology, energy and much more besides.”

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