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Donald Trump slams EU trade relationship

Chase Winter
October 15, 2018

The comments targeting the trans-Atlantic relationship come as US-EU trade negotiations are in an early stage. In July, the two sides agreed to de-escalate a brewing trade fight.

Donald Trump
Image: Getty Images/AFP/T. Charlier

US President Donald Trump on Sunday again railed against the trans-Atlantic trade relationship, claiming that "nobody treats us much worse than the European Union."

"The European Union was formed in order to take advantage of us on trade, and that's what they've done," Trump said in a televised interview on CBS.

Read more: Donald Trump's man in Brussels extends a hand to the EU

Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker agreed in July to reduce trade tensions and work toward elimination of tariffs on industrial goods. Both sides also agreed no new tariffs would be imposed as trade talks continue, taking US threats to impose levies on European auto imports temporally off the table.

The ceasefire tamped down escalating trans-Atlantic trade tensions that threatened to morph into a tit-for-tat trade fight as witnessed between the US and China. An unorthodox Trump administration trade strategy with Mexico and Canada led the three sides to reach a new trade deal earlier this month.

Germany's Emsland feels Trump's pinch

Read more: IMF downgrades global growth outlook, places responsibility on US-China trade tensions

Trump said his hard-handed tactics against the EU were not hostile toward America's allies.

"You know what's hostile? The way they treat us. We're not hostile," Trump told CBS journalist Lesley Stahl after she suggested the administration was behaving in a hostile manner toward US allies.

Trump continued that he liked NATO now that alliance members have vowed to increase defense spending.

"Now, I like NATO, NATO's fine. But you know what? We shouldn't be paying almost the entire cost of NATO to protect Europe. And then on top of that, they take advantage of us on trade. They're not going to do it anymore. They understand that," he said.