The European Union’s trade policy with America is “very unfair”, President Donald Trump said in an interview to be aired Sunday, warning that his many problems with Brussels “may morph into something very big”.
“We cannot get our product in. It’s very, very tough. And yet, they send their product to us — no taxes, very little taxes. It’s very unfair,” Trump told ITV News in the interview conducted Thursday.
“I’ve had a lot of problems with (the) European Union, and it may morph into something very big from that standpoint — from a trade standpoint.”
Trump delivered the warning during a wide-ranging interview on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, where he took his “America First” agenda to the global business elite.
In a speech Friday he told the forum that his mantra “does not mean America alone” and hinted that the US could rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a deal he withdrew from a year ago.
But earlier this month the Trump Administration imposed steep tariffs on imported washing machines and solar panels, and his comments in the interview to air Sunday may cause alarm in European capitals over future trade with the US.
The Trump Administration last year vowed to impose nearly 300 percent punitive tariffs on airplanes manufactured by Canada’s Bombardier.
A bipartisan US trade panel blocked that decision on Friday but the dispute, which has inflamed relations with Ottawa — and to a lesser degree Britain, where Bombardier has a large workforce — could be a harbinger for the EU. In other remarks released ahead of the interview’s airing, Trump appeared to slight British Prime Minister Theresa May’s handling of fraught Brexit negotiations, declaring that he would have “negotiated it differently”.
“I would have had a different attitude,” he said of the talks, which have followed Britain’s June 2016 referendum vote to leave the EU, and will continue through to its planned departure in March 2019.
“I think I would have said that the European Union is not cracked up to what it’s supposed to be. And I would have taken a tougher stand in getting out,” Trump added.
In excerpts of the discussion screened in Britain Friday, the US president apologised for the first time for retweeting a British far-right group’s videos apparently showing Islamist violence.
“If you’re telling me they’re horrible racist people, I would certainly apologise if you’d like me to do that,” the president said.
Trump confirmed he will visit Britain later this year, where he believes he is “very popular”, according to the interviewer Piers Morgan, who wrote an account of the sit-down in the Mail on Sunday newspaper.
The president said he does not care about those opposed to his British visit, who include London mayor Sadiq Khan and the opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, amid predictions of large protests.
“I think a lot of people in your country like what I stand for, they respect what I stand for,” he told Morgan, according to the presenter.
Asked if he had received an invitation to the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle later this year, Trump replied “not that I know of”.
“I really want them to be happy. They look like a lovely couple,” he added when pressed if he would like to attend the ceremony. During the interview — billed as the first of his presidency with a non-US international broadcaster — Trump was asked if he identifies as a feminist.
“No, I wouldn’t say I’m a feminist,” he replied.
“I mean, I think that would be, maybe, going too far. I’m for women, I’m for men, I’m for everyone.”
Trump also signalled he would be willing to sign the US back up to the Paris climate accord, but only if the treaty undergoes major change.
He was met with global condemnation when he announced in June 2017 that America was pulling out of the Paris climate agreement, painting it a “bad deal” for its economy.
“The Paris accord, for us, would have been a disaster,” he said in the interview to run Sunday.
“If they made a good deal… there’s always a chance we’d get back.”