President Trump welcomed European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to the White House on Wednesday for what are likely to be tense discussions over trade and tariffs, with Trump saying the U.S.is seeking a "level playing field" on trade with the European Union.
But Juncker said they had agreed not to impose any new tariffs while talks were taking place. He told reporters he entered Wednesday's meeting with the intention of reaching an agreement with Trump.
Mr Trump has called the meeting productive.
Trump, who invited several members of Congress to his announcement in the Rose Garden, has been under pressure for his trade policy from both Republicans and Democrats because of the impact tariffs have had on soybean farmers, pork producers and other exporters. The U.S.is also in the middle of a trade dispute with China and is threatening to impose new tariffs on the European auto sector.
"I think agricultural producers across the country have made it very clear", says Whiting, "that they want the administration to open up new markets for them, not subsidize them more".
His comments came after his administration announced a plan to provide 12 billion dollars (£9 billion) in emergency relief for farmers who have been hit hard by the president's trade disputes with China and other countries.
In 1930, the US raised tariffs dramatically to protect American industry, encouraging other countries to do the same in a global trade war that made the Great Depression worse.
"We hope that it doesn't come to that and that we can find a solution".
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The $12 billion program overseen by the USDA will include direct payments, excess crop purchase, and trade promoting after countries such as China announced tariffs on soybeans and pork in retaliation for taxes on various goods from China and US allies. "We have identified a number of areas on which to work together, work towards zero tariffs on industrial goods".
"It is not the European Commission that buys, but the industry, and traders who look for goods where they are the least expensive for their financial interests", one European soybean trader said.
During their Oval Office meeting, Mr. Trump said he expects something "very positive to take place" during his discussions with Juncker, but was adamant that a "level playing field" is needed for USA farmers and manufacturers.
Trump told CNBC on Friday he was ready to impose tariffs on all US$500 billion (RM2.03 trillion) of imported goods from China, threatening to escalate a clash over trade policy that has unnerved financial markets.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue described the programs as "a firm statement that other nations can not bully our agricultural producers to force the United States to cave in". "That means the ball is in these other countries' court".
The US Commerce Department held a hearing on Thursday into its investigation over whether imported vehicles and parts pose a national security risk.
The moves drew howls from European capitals, and prompted of retaliatory tariffs on US -made bourbon whiskey and motorcycles.
"I think the statements on the European Union increasing purchases of soybeans from the United States are largely symbolic", he added.
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Collins had served as a representative of the television networks during an earlier "pool spray" availability in the Oval Office. Collins asked Trump as reporters shouted questions and White House press aides tried to usher them out of the room.