- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 25, 2018

President Trump’s top economic adviser was upbeat Wednesday about avoiding a tariff war over cars when the president meets with European Union Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

“They have a positive attitude going into this. Our team has a positive attitude,” Larry Kudlow, the director of the president’s National Economic Council, said on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends.”

He described the one-on-one meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Juncker as “absolutely crucial.”

The two leaders will face off later in the day over high EU tariffs on autos. Mr. Trump is threatening up to a 25-percent tariff on European cars and car parts, which would be devastating to the EU auto industry, especially in Germany.

The EU is prepared to retaliate with tariffs on $20 billion worth of American goods.

A deal is not out of the question, Mr. Kudlow said.

“Expectations are so low that I believe it is possible,” he said. “Where there is a political willingness, there is a political way, and I just say keep an open mind, you might be surprised by the outcome of this meeting.”

Mr. Trump has suggested a zero-tariff deal to level the trade playing field and create what he calls a “fair and reciprocal” trading relationship.

Mr. Juncker and his team say they are going into the meeting prepared to discuss lowering and restructuring all tariffs for all products.

“The aim of this visit is to cool down the situation and prevent an escalation of the trade conflict,” European Commission for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom, who will accompany Mr. Juncker at a bilateral meeting at the White House, told Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

If a deal isn’t reached, they’ve got a new list of $20 billion of U.S. goods to target with tariffs.

• S.A. Miller can be reached at smiller@washingtontimes.com.

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