US President Donald Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced plans Wednesday to avoid a trade war by working toward a zero tariffs regime, but the announcement was so thin on substantive details that it could only be described as “political theater,” an expert told Sputnik.
“Ultimately this is political theater where the Trump administration is going to try to play up these minor concessions as some kind of substantial victory to increase support from his base,” financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey told Sputnik News Wednesday.
Trump and Juncker said they’d agreed to a framework of zero tariffs on non-automobile industrial goods. Further, the US head of state claimed that Europe would “buy a lot of soybeans” and US-produced liquefied natural gas (LNG), moves that were reported to be concessions made by the European side in exchange for relaxing metal tariffs.
But it’s too early to celebrate, according to Sankey, who stressed the need for caution due to the “preliminary” nature of the trade talks.
“Both sides have pledged to stop imposing tariffs while the talks continue. However, should the talks break down; we’d be back to square one. The EU is throwing some minor concessions to the US, most likely for the US to save face, and the solid details of those concessions have yet to materialize, so we will have to wait and see if they are substantial or not,” Sankey told Sputnik News.
The meeting marked a “big day” for “free and fair trade,” the US leader rejoiced during his Wednesday afternoon Rose Garden announcement with Juncker. Juncker’s comments were similarly triumphant. “When I was invited… to the White House, I had one intention. It was to make a deal today. And we made a deal today,” the Luxembourgish politician said.
Without the nitty gritty details, though, there’s no real way of knowing if Wednesday is a “big day” for “free and fair trade.” On the contrary, Washington’s hasty declaration of victory “comes at the cost of US credibility and influence,” Sankey says.
The message about the so-called agreement to slash most tariffs between the US and trading partners in the European Union was met with “skepticism” across the Atlantic, Reuters reported, citing a statement from German industry group DIHK.
Wednesday’s political stunt may be some good news for nations facing “US aggression in the form of tariffs,” Sankey noted: that “the current administration is disorganized, inexperienced and easy to manipulate.”