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article imageEU's Juncker says 'not very optimistic' about Trump trade talks

By AFP     Jul 25, 2018 in Politics

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker dampened expectations ahead of talks Wednesday with US President Donald Trump that they would resolve a bitter trade dispute between the two giant economies.

"I am not very optimistic. I know Mr Trump pretty well. I have met him frequently and know how to deal with him and know how he deals with others. We will negotiate as equals," Juncker told German public broadcaster ZDF.

Juncker said that the EU is "not in the dock -- we don't need to defend ourselves.

"We are here to explain ourselves and explore ways to avoid a trade war," he said.

Juncker renewed his pledge of retaliatory measures should Trump make good on his threat to slap new tariffs on EU car imports.

"We are ready to do that," he said.

"We are in a position to respond appropriately right away."

Brussels already retaliated against steel and aluminium tariffs levelled last month, imposing punitive duties on over $3 billion (2.5 billion euros) of US goods, including blue jeans, bourbon and motorcycles, as well as orange juice, rice and corn.

Concerned about growing strain in transatlantic ties, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas wrote on Twitter that the United States was "not an enemy but rather our most important partner outside the EU".

"America is bigger than the White House. Trump won't change that -- he can tweet as much as he likes."

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