PM Rutte interrupts Trump on EU trade deal

Mark Rutte, January 2016
Mark Rutte, January 2016Photo: EU2016 NL / Wikimedia Commons

Prime Minister Mark Rutte met with United States president Donald Trump in Washington on Monday. During his welcome speech Trump spoke about the U.S. and the European Union meeting soon to discuss trade agreements. "If we do work it out that will be positive. And if we don't work it out, that will be positive also", Trump said. Rutte could not agree with that. "No", he interrupted. "That's not positive. We have to work something out."

According to Trump, the United States' relationship with the Netherlands is "better than ever". He immediately started talking about how good the American economy is looking and how they're "very close to making some very good trade deals". "Fair trade deals. I don't want to say good, I want to say fair. Fair trade deals for our tax payers and for our workers and our farmers."

In his response, Rutte referred to the close ties between the Netherlands and the U.S. in their long relationship. Jobs and security are the most important themes in his talk with Trump. He emphasized that the two countries create many jobs in each other, and that both will benefit from intensifying that relationship. 

Trump did not respond to that, instead going on to talk about a good talk he had with the newly elected president of Mexico, Lopez Obrador.

This was the first official meeting between Rutte and Trump, and it came at a politically sensitive moment. Rutte is the first European leader to meet with Trump since the start of the trade conflict between the U.S. and the EU. On Monday the EU announced that it will answer the looming American import tariff on European cars with a packet of counter measures worth 300 billion dollars.

During their meeting, Rutte called on Trump to scrap import tariffs on steel and aluminum, according to NOS. His message to the president was to de-escalate the trade conflict between the EU and the U.S.

In the meeting Trump also said that the U.S. will continue to support the Netherlands in the MH17 investigation. Rutte thanked the Americans for their support since the MH17 disaster happened in July 2014.




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