Donald Trump today claimed the EU makes it ‘impossible’ to trade as he praised Boris Johnson and said the UK is in a ‘good position’ to get a strong post-Brexit deal from the bloc.
The US President delivered a savage attack on Brussels as he spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this afternoon.
He said the EU was ‘more difficult to do business with than China’ but predicted the bloc would agree to better trade terms with the US because ‘they have no choice’ as he threatened to impose punishing tariffs on European goods.
Despite his criticism of the EU, Mr Trump said he believed Mr Johnson was well placed to strike a beneficial future partnership agreement with Brussels.
He said Mr Johnson had ‘a lot of guts’ and was doing a ‘terrific job’ as he insisted doing a quick UK/US trade deal was ‘okay with me’.
Mr Trump said: ‘The United States has been losing $150 billion and more for many years. £150 billion more. I mean really more than that with the European Union.
‘They have trade barriers where you can’t trade. They have tariffs all over the place. They make it impossible. They are frankly more difficult to do business with than China.
‘We have a great relationship with China now. We had some testy moments. Very testy. Beyond testy. Worse than a lot of people would understand.
‘But we got it done and I think phase two will go nicely also. But with the European Union, and frankly I will be honest I wanted to wait until I finished China before I went to work on, respectfully, Europe.
‘But Europe, you know it is so beautiful, I guess a lot of us come indirectly from Europe, isn’t that nice.
‘But they are actually more difficult to do business with than China. All you have to do is ask Boris. But I think Boris is going to be okay too.
‘I think he is going to come out great. I think he has a lot of guts. He has done a terrific job.
‘I think he is in a good position which they would have never been able to do before Boris.’
Mr Trump told broadcaster CNBC in an interview that trade talks with the UK were already starting.
He said: ‘He [Mr Johnson] wants to make a deal and that is okay with me. They want it. They need it. We are starting. We have already started negotiating.’
He then warned the EU that if it did not agree to more favourable trading terms for the US then he would impose ‘very high tariffs’ on European imports, specifically mentioning cars.
He said: ‘They are going to make a deal because they have to. They have to. They have no choice.’
Mr Trump also said that while he considered the old president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker a friend, he was ‘impossible to deal with’.