Trump at Davos: EU More Difficult to do Business With Than China, UK Will Come Out Great From Brexit Negotiations

US President Donald Trump gives a press conference at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on January 22, 2020. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
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President Trump has condemned the European Union’s protectionism and difficult attitude towards free trade, remarking that British leader Boris Johnson had “guts” in taking on the continental power bloc but that ultimately the UK was “in a good position” to strike deals.

Speaking at a press conference at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, shortly before departing for the United States, President Trump spoke about the difficulty in getting a trade deal with the European Union and how the bloc was ripping off non-members with tariffs. Comparing their relationship with the U.S. to that with even China, the President alluded to the EU using tariffs to prop up Airbus to the detriment of Boeing, and said of the EU:

The haven’t treated us right. The United States has been losing $150 billion and more for many years, more than that, with the European Union. They have trade barriers where you can’t trade, they have tarrifs all over the place. They make it impossible. Frankly, they are more difficult to do business with than China.

We have a great relationship with China now. We had some very testy moments… worse than a lot of people would understand, but we got it done and I think phase two will go nicely also.

While citing his own European heritage — Trump’s forebears hail from north Britain and Germany — the President praised UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson for going head-to-head with the European Union on a trade deal. Taking a sly dig at predecessor PM Theresa May by noting the British “would have never been able to do before Boris”, President Trump said of how difficult the EU can be:

All you have to do is ask Boris, but I think Boris is going to be OK too. He’s going to come out great, he’s got a lot of guts he’s done a terrific job. I think he’s in a good position.

The latest remarks namechecking Boris Johnson and the United Kingdom’s protracted battle to extract itself from the increasingly federalised, state-like European Union project follow others the President made Tuesday when he expressed his enthusiasm for signing a “tremendous” trade deal with Britain, post-Brexit. A swiftly concluded trade deal with the U.S. will greatly benefit the United Kingdom’s own negotiations to sign a similar deal with the EU, as it will put pressure on Brussels leaders to not be left behind as a newly free United Kingdom embraces the rest of the world.

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