European, Asian Leaders Want Free Trade, Push Back at Trump

BRUSSELS European and Asian leaders pledged their support for free trade at a meeting Friday that underscored global trade tensions with U.S. President Donald Trump.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the Asia-Europe Meeting in Brussels would send a signal that countries are coming together here from Europe and Asia that all want rules-based global trade and are committed to multilateralism.

The meeting brought together 30 European leaders with their counterparts from 21 Asian nations as well as top officials from the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Together, the group accounts for some two-thirds of the world’s economic output, 55 percent of global trade and 60 percent of the world’s population.

A written statement said the leaders highlighted the vital need of maintaining an open world economy and upholding the rules-based multilateral trading system, with the World Trade Organization at its core.

Trump slapped 25 percent tariffs on steel imports and 10 percent on imported aluminum from the EU on June 1. He said the move was to protect U.S. national security interests, but the Europeans claim it is simply protectionism and breaks global trade rules.

The EU hit back with tariffs on about 2.8 billion euros worth ($3.4 billion) of U.S. steel, agricultural and other products.

The stakes are even higher in Trump’s trade war with China. Trump has imposed tariffs on about $250 billion worth of Chinese products amid U.S. accusations that China engages in cyber-theft and coerces foreign companies into handing over technology in return for access to the Chinese market, as well as by Trump’s anger over China’s trade surplus with the U.S.

BRUSSELS �

European and Asian leaders pledged their support for free trade at a meeting Friday that underscored global trade tensions with U.S. President Donald Trump.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the Asia-Europe Meeting in Brussels would send a signal that countries are coming together here from Europe and Asia that all want rules-based global trade and are committed to multilateralism.

The meeting brought together 30 European leaders with their counterparts from 21 Asian nations as well as top officials from the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Together, the group accounts for some two-thirds of the world’s economic output, 55 percent of global trade and 60 percent of the world’s population.

A written statement said the leaders highlighted the vital need of maintaining an open world economy and upholding the rules-based multilateral trading system, with the World Trade Organization at its core.

Trump slapped 25 percent tariffs on steel imports and 10 percent on imported aluminum from the EU on June 1. He said the move was to protect U.S. national security interests, but the Europeans claim it is simply protectionism and breaks global trade rules.

The EU hit back with tariffs on about 2.8 billion euros worth ($3.4 billion) of U.S. steel, agricultural and other products.

The stakes are even higher in Trump’s trade war with China. Trump has imposed tariffs on about $250 billion worth of Chinese products amid U.S. accusations that China engages in cyber-theft and coerces foreign companies into handing over technology in return for access to the Chinese market, as well as by Trump’s anger over China’s trade surplus with the U.S.

Source: Voice of America