The talks with Juncker seemed a resounding victory for Trump and his confrontational trade strategy, as Washington appears to have conceded little.
President Donald Trump's meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday was expected to be contentious, coming less than two weeks after the former called the EU a "foe" that "clobbered" the US on trade.
Just hours prior to the meeting, the EU's trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter that the European Union will put tariffs worth $20 billion on US goods if Trump goes ahead with auto tariffs. German Finance Minister Peter Altmaier, for instance, called it a "breakthrough".
France was one of the countries to immediately demand clarification after the talks, citing comments from Trump that the agreement would open up new markets for USA farmers. Those negotiations have been mostly dormant since 2016, when they were sidetracked by Britain voting to leave the European Union and the United States electing Trump.
The administration said the scheme was just temporary.
And then there are questions about the particulars. The Trump administration's action to stand by our agricultural producers is a clear message that China can not bully farmers to coerce the United States to cave in.
Tariffs threaten more than $3.8 billion in IL exports, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and major companies including Caterpillar and Boeing already have been negatively affected. The reverberations would be enormous: The EU accounted for just 22 percent of US auto imports previous year; Canada and Mexico combined for 47 percent.
Trump tells workers gathered at U.S. Steel's Granite City Works' Steel Coil Warehouse that other countries were able to target U.S. workers and companies and steal U.S. intellectual property. After nearly three hours of talks, Trump said he wanted to hold a joint press conference with Juncker to announce the good news.
"The aim of this visit is to cool down the situation and prevent an escalation of the trade conflict", Malmstrom told Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter in an interview.
Speaking outside the White House Thursday, Mnuchin announced no new tariffs will be imposed during talks, adding, the president has reached an agreement on principle with European Union allies to avoid escalating tensions.
Nord Stream 2 hasn't been abandoned, though.
At his side, Juncker said Europe would also delay its own threatened retaliatory tariffs on the U.S.: "As long as we're negotiating, unless one party would stop the negotiations, we'll hold off further tariffs, and will reassess existing tariffs on steel and aluminum".
"Let's go back a step", said Demertzis, the economic analyst.