- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 22, 2020

President Trump said Wednesday the U.S. will seek a trade deal with the European Union now that he’s signed a phase-one deal with China and negotiated with North American partners, reissuing his threat to levy car imports they don’t come to the table.

Speaking to CNBC, the president said Europe has taken advantage of the U.S. for too long, so something has to give.

Mr. Trump met with Ursula von der Leyen, the new president of the European Commission, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“I said, ‘Look, we don’t get something, I’m going to have to take action,’ and the action will be a very high tariff on their cars and other things that come into our country,” Mr. Trump told CNBC. “They’re going to make a deal because they have to. They have to. They have no choice.”

He said there is no reason for Americans to “get nervous” because he’s confident of a deal.

“I would be very surprised if I had to implement the tariffs,” he said.

Mr. Trump said the Europeans have in some ways been “tougher than China,” but they didn’t want to negotiate with past presidents.

“But they’re gonna negotiate with me,” he told reporters in Davos.
Wrapping up his trip, Mr. Trump also complained that large Asian nations take advantage of the World Trade Organization and its rules. He said the body, which regulates international trade, needs to be reformed.

“China’s viewed as a developing nation, India is viewed as a developing nation — we’re not viewed as a developing nation. As far as I’m concerned, we’re a developing nation, too,” Mr. Trump said at a press conference. “They got tremendous advantages by the fact that they were considered developing and we weren’t. And they shouldn’t be. But if they are, we are. We’re talking about a whole new structure for the deal, or we’ll have to do something.”

“The World Trade Organization’s been very unfair to the United States for many, many years,” he added. “Without it, China wouldn’t be China. China wouldn’t be where they are right now.”

In brief remarks, WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo said all countries will have to work together on reforms.

“The WTO has to change,” he said. “We are committed to effect those changes.”

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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