Trade deal with EU trade greater in scope than expected: U.S. official

U.S. President Donald Trump and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker walk together before speaking about trade relations in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., July 25, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. administration got more out of a trade deal with the European Union than it had expected and the two will work together to deal with China’s market abuses, a top White House official told Reuters on Thursday.

President Donald Trump and Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, the EU’s executive body, struck a surprise deal on Wednesday that ended the risk of an immediate trade war between the two powers.

“The EU came into the conversation and they were open to the proposals we had made about getting rid of tariffs, non-tariff barriers and subsidies,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Trump agreed on Wednesday to refrain from imposing car tariffs while the two sides launch negotiations to cut other trade barriers. Europe agreed to increase purchases of U.S. liquefied natural gas and lower trade barriers to American soybeans.

The official stressed on Thursday that Trump retained the power to implement tariffs on cars if needed and said there was no deadline for the completion of talks. He said Trump was committed to getting zero tariffs from the European Union.

As part of the deal, the United States and Europe will work together on China. The two powers in the past have cooperated on measures to deal with theft of company secrets by Chinese entities.

“They want to work together with us on China and they want to help us reform the WTO (World Trade Organization),” the official said.

Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by David Chance; Editing by Leslie Adler