Juncker contradicts Trump administration on agriculture

Update 30 Jul 2018: A reader found the Juncker interview in German for me. Here is the link. Also, the Wall Street Journal has now picked up on this contradiction. The link to that article is here. In today’s daily post, I have some more relevant thoughts to run by you on the topic of Trump’s messaging.

The rest of the post below is as it was when I wrote it on Friday.

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I just caught a Portuguese newspaper article, demonstrating yet again that when it comes to negotiation details, you need more than just the White House as a source. Yesterday we heard from Larry Kudlow on Fox Business that the EU and US had decided to work together toward freer trade while countering the threat China creates for the WTO system. Specifically, Kudlow said the following:

The U.S. and EU will be allied in the fight against China, which has broken the world trading system, in effect. President Juncker made it very clear yesterday that he intended to help us, President Trump on the China problem.

So far, so good. But Kudlow also told Fox that the EU would start working on ways to increase the purchase of American soybeans, beef and liquefied natural gas. And apparently, while the LNG part is true but cannot be implemented for years due the lack of LNG terminal facilities in Europe, the agricultural part, which can happen straight away, is untrue.

Here’s my translation of key bits of a Jornal de Noticia article on the matter:

But this Friday, Juncker contradicted him: “Agriculture is out (of the agreement), otherwise the agreement would have failed,” he told the German public television station ARD.

“If you read the joint statement … you can see that there is no mention of agriculture. There is mention of farmers and of soybeans, that are part of discussions to follow, “a European Commission spokeswoman, Mina Andreeva, said during a press conference in Brussels.

“The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, was very clear … We do not trade agricultural products, they are outside the field of discussion,” he added…

“It is up to the market players to conclude an agreement to increase exports of (US) soybeans to Europe, but not genetically-modified soybeans. This is not part of the agreement,” Juncker told ARD.

Just as with Trump’s declaration that he got specific commitments from his European NATO partners to increase defense spending, the Europeans are contradicting him.

If I find the German-language video of Juncker, I will post it later.

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