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    Ursula von der Leyen plans to meet Trump in early 2020

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    European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced on Tuesday her intention to meet U.S. Head of State Donald Trump in early 2020 to try and ease trade relations with Washington.

    “Courtesy call with Donald Trump. (…) Talked briefly about US-EU relations,” von der Leyen tweeted. “Look forward to meeting at the beginning of 2020,” she added, although she did not give a time or date for the meeting.

    “We both want a fair partnership,” the head of the EU executive stressed. “The close friendship and cooperation between Europe and the United States is crucial for mutual success.”

    US-EU trade relations have been tense since the decision by France and many other EU member States to slap a tax on digital giants Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon. In return, Washington has threatened to impose a 2.4-billion-dollar surtax on French goods, including champagne and Roquefort.

    Donald Trump played down the trade dispute with France at a meeting with President Emmanuel Macron on the margin of a NATO summit in London. He described the conflict as a “minor” dispute and said the two sides would “probably” be able to resolve it. However, the US move to block the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has added a new bone of contention.

    The European Commission has proposed reinforcing the EU trade arsenal. Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan explained that the EU could not afford to be defenceless if a satisfactory solution to a trade dispute cannot be obtained at the WTO.

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times