Trump appeared in the Rose Garden alongside European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker yesterday evening where he announced that he, or more likely someone underneath him, plans to talk to the European Union about new trade deals.
Trump's announcement didn't include any specifics because there aren't any.
“We met right here at the White House to launch a new phase in the relationship between the United States and the European union, a phase of close friendship, of strong trade relations in which both of us will win,” Trump said during a brief press conference with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. [...]
“It will make trade fairer and more reciprocal. My favorite word: reciprocal,” Trump said.
Reciprocal. That's a nice word. A big word. Unfortunately, Trump doesn't know or at the very least doesn't appreciate what it means.
This rhetoric suggests that Trump wants to cut a deal to eliminate his tariffs on European products and, in exchange, Europe will reduce or eliminate their tariffs on American products. And that's a fine idea, except every time Trump's subordinates have tried to make deals he has undercut them. Trump has also undercut our allies in the European Union by trying to convince British Prime Minister Theresa May to pursue a "hard Brexit" rather than remain inside the European customs union.
Talk is cheap and, for the first time, the market may not be taking Trump's talk at face value.
Various industrial and consumer stocks have taken a beating over the past 24 hours and Trump's comforting words don't appear to have stemmed their losses. In one case, Trump's optimistic words have actually had the opposite effect.
Trump's tariffs that are already on the books are doing damage as we speak and, during his photo op with Jean-Claude Juncker, Trump stopped just short of saying he won't go through with his plan to impose tariffs on foreign cars and car parts.
I see no reason to believe Trump will roll back any of his tariffs until it actually happens. We're probably just a day or two away from another Twitter bender attacking the European Union.