Almost as bad as China, just smaller: A threat to European Union

The EU’s Jean-Claude Juncker left Washington in late July with a Rose Garden truce — a handshake trade agreement he had good reason to believe would spare the continent from President Donald Trump’s wrath. It didn’t last. In an interview on Thursday the US president spoke of the EU as if it’s likely to be his next target. “Almost as bad as China, just smaller,” he said. 

Trump’s remarks cast doubt on the longevity of his agreement with Juncker, intended to stave off a broader trade war between the US and Europe after the president imposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum earlier this year. 

The trans-Atlantic dispute has rattled markets and shaken the international order created after World War II. They also illustrate why Trump is still seen as a fickle dealmaker internationally and raise questions about his ability to ever negotiate with China, or whether a deal with Canada and Mexico to revise Nafta.

“As is the case with ceasefires, they’re sometimes at risk but they will be upheld,” Juncker told German broadcaster ZDF on Friday, adding that if Trump raises tariffs on car imports, the bloc will once again retaliate.

In the Oval Office interview, Trump likened a weak euro to China’s renminbi, or yuan, a currency he claims is manipulated to disadvantage U.S. companies and undermine his efforts to right global trade imbalances.

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