US President Donald Trump says the European Union is “possibly as bad as China” on trade, as possible trade wars loom with both the Asian giant as well as longtime allies in Europe and Canada.
“The European Union is possibly as bad as China, only smaller,” Trump said during an interview with Fox News.
“They send a Mercedes in, we can’t send our cars in. Look what they do to our farmers. They don’t want our farm products. Now in all fairness they have their farmers … But we don’t protect ours and they protect theirs,” he said.
His latest comment comes amid continued tensions between the US and other world economic powers have flared up in the past few weeks.
The EU on Friday imposed a range of tariffs on goods worth $3.3 billion in a tit-for-tat response to Trump’s decision to apply stiff tariffs on European steel and aluminum exports.
On June 10, the Trump administration imposed 10 percent tariffs on aluminum imports and 25 percent tariffs on steel imports, which mainly affects the EU, Canada, and Mexico.
The EU tariffs, applied to items ranging from blue jeans to bourbon, appear designed in part to hit industries which are predominantly active in states dominated by Trump’s Republican Party.
The White House has also imposed 25 percent tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese products containing significant technologies in an escalating tit-for-tat trade war between the world’s two largest economies.
US tariffs against China are due to take effect July 6.
Canada’s retaliatory tariffs take effect on Sunday against American products including Florida orange juice, ketchup and whiskey.
Canada and the US are among the world’s largest trading partners, with an estimated $673.9 billion in goods and services exchanged in 2017, with the US scoring a small surplus ($8.4 billion), according to US government data.
At Trump’s insistence, the US, Canada and Mexico are renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
“NAFTA, I could sign it tomorrow but I’m not happy with it. I want to make it more fair, OK?” Trump said, adding that he wants to wait until “after the election.”
In the interview the president again complained about Canada’s protected dairy industry, saying “that’s not fair.”
In the interview, Trump said he is not backing down on China tariffs. “No, no, no, no,” he said, noting that more tariffs could be imposed if there is no deal with China.
“I will tell you, China wants to make a deal and so do I, but it’s got to be a fair deal for this country,” he said.
The US has complained about Chinese policies that Washington says either force companies to relinquish key technology or allowed China to steal it outright.
The so-called Made in China 2025 initiative, a strategic plan by Beijing to upgrade Chinese industry, stands at the heart of the trade war between the US and China. The US government believes the plan is a major threat to US technological leadership and economic dominance.