European Commission Chief: Trump efforts to split EU "in vain"

President Donald Trump will meet with the president of the European Commission next week at the White House, days after labeling the European Union a "foe" of the United States.

"That was correct last Wednesday and that is correct this morning and will be correct tonight and tomorrow morning", he told reporters.

"The European Union makes it impossible for our farmers and workers and companies to do business in Europe (U.S. has a $151 billion trade deficit), and then they want us to happily defend them through North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and nicely pay for it".

"President Juncker and President Trump will focus on improving transatlantic trade and forging a stronger economic partnership", the Commission said in a statement on Tuesday that announced the date.

If he makes good on threats of 20 percent to 25 percent tariffs on autos and auto parts, it would be Trump's biggest yet, the Journal reported, adding America a year ago imported $176 billion of passenger cars, $36 billion of trucks, and $147 billion of auto components.

Trump imposed duties of 25 per cent on steel imports and 10 per cent on aluminium in March, but had given temporary exemptions to the European Union and some other close trading partners as talks continued.

Juncker said late last month that he would pay a visit to Washington after Trump returned from his trip, which included the annual North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels, meetings and golf in the United Kingdom and a highly anticipated sit-down with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland.

A French finance ministry source told AFP on Tuesday that U.S. officials have rejected a joint request made by Paris, London, Berlin and the European Union last month to exempt their companies operating in Iran from the sanctions. "Is he really comfortable launching a $100-billion trade war over cars?"

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