Trade

The EU Prepares to Dumb It Down For Trump

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

It seems highly unlikely that the Trump regime and the European Union (EU) will sign a significant, sweeping trade deal before the November election, but that doesn't necessarily mean they won't agree to a limited deal of some description.

In fact, that's exactly what European officials are hoping for.

The way they see it, they just need to give Trump something he can tweet so he'll shut up and go away.

Tomas Baert, head of trade and agriculture for the EU’s delegation in Washington, said on Friday that EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan will travel to Washington monthly to try to work out a limited deal “that is tweetable.” Such a deal would allow Trump “to say that we went from the worst trade relationship to the best relationship,” Baert said.

That doesn’t mean, however, that Europe will be consuming “chlorinated chicken,” he said, or buying genetically modified agricultural products, referring to U.S. practices shunned in Europe.

A limited deal that does not fundamentally alter our relationship or necessarily even lead to significantly higher exports is exactly what we got in "phase one" of Trump's "biggest and greatest deal ever" with China and I can't see any reason to expect anything different in this case. My expectations are actually lower.

It's even less likely that Trump will roll back any of his tariffs on European goods because, unlike his trade war with China, Trump actually did receive the green light from the World Trade Organization (WTO) to impose tariffs in a subsidy dispute that dates back to the Bush administration.

Trump is going to cling to the WTO's ruling until he's out of office because he feels personally validated by it and that means a low-key trade war with Europe will likely be the status quo until he's gone.

  • Christopher Foxx

    EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan will travel to Washington monthly to try to work out a limited deal “that is tweetable.” Such a deal would allow Trump “to say that we went from the worst trade relationship to the best relationship,” Baert said.

    Why bother travelling all that way? It doesn’t matter what the deal is (or even if there is one). Trump would tweet that he’s made the best deal ever regardless.

  • muselet

    Far be it from me to tell the EU how to run its affairs, but giving Donald Trump something he can trumpet as a win—even if it’s not really a win—seems to me a huge mistake.

    Trump is likely to see it as weakness on the part of the EU. That’s rubbish, of course, but that’s the way his brain (speaking extremely broadly) works (ditto). He’ll scream and wave his arms around and threaten and demand more concessions. He certainly won’t calm down.

    The EU rightly sees Boris Johnson as an erratic nutter. If anything, Trump is worse.

    –alopecia

    • Draxiar

      I had the same thought going through my head while reading this. I wish the EU would not indulge this man-baby at all. Let him tantrum and tweet and talk about everything being unfair because he didn’t get his lolly (although he does have 60 million all day suckers *rimshot*).

    • Not to mention that any perceived “victory” by Trump increases the odds he’ll get reelected and they’ve got to be hoping that he isn’t. I understand the desire for him to shut up, but stop helping him, Europe!