President Donald Trump announced an agreement Friday to boost beef exports to the European Union.
Surrounded by trade officials and beef industry representatives at the White House, Trump said he would sign a deal to “lower trade barriers in Europe and expand market access for American farmers and ranchers.” The president claimed it would increase duty-free U.S. beef exports to the EU by 46% in the first year alone.
“This is a tremendous victory for American farmers, ranchers and of course, European consumers,” the president said at the White House as he unveiled the deal.
The agreement comes as the agriculture industry has taken a hit from Trump’s ongoing trade war with China. The president has tried to limit the economic and political damage from the conflict ahead of the 2020 election.
On Thursday, he threatened to put 10% tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese goods in September — a move that would raise prices on many consumer products.
Through the agreement, Trump in part aims to de-escalate trade tensions with the European Union. Earlier this year, the administration delayed a decision on slapping duties on European cars and auto parts.
He put a momentary scare into European officials at the White House on Friday when he brought up car tariffs unprompted.
“We’re working on a deal where the European Union will agree to pay a 25% tariff on all Mercedes-Benzes, BMWs coming into our nation, so we appreciate that,” the president said.
“I’m only kidding,” he continued, sparking laughter in the room. “They started to get a little bit worried. Thank you. Congratulations. Best beef in the world, thank you very much!”