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Donald Trump and EU Commission Chief Discuss 'Trade Deal' at Davos Summit

US President Donald Trump with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Davos on Tuesday. (Reuters)

US President Donald Trump with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Davos on Tuesday. (Reuters)

European Union (EU) Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she was looking forward to working with Trump, saying Americans and Europeans were "good friends".

  • Agencies
  • Last Updated: January 21, 2020, 8:46 PM IST
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Davos: US President Donald Trump said at a meeting on Tuesday in Davos with new European Union (EU) Commission President Ursula von der Leyen that they were discussing a trade deal.

Trump, accompanied by top economic advisors including Wilbur Ross and Robert Lighthizer, met with von der Leyen on the sidelines of the Davos economic conference.

"We're going to talk about a good trade deal. We'll be discussing other things also," he said.

Von der Leyen said she was looking forward to working with Trump, saying Americans and Europeans were "good friends".

Trump said he had heard von der Leyen is "a very tough negotiator".

The talks came shortly after Paris announced a truce in its tussle with Washington over plans for taxing US technology companies earning revenue in France. Trump had threatened to hit back with tariffs.

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday he had a "great discussion" with Trump over a digital tax planned by Paris and said the two countries would work together to avoid a rise in tariffs.

The two leaders agreed to the truce after Paris offered to suspend down payments for this year's digital tax and Washington promised to keep negotiating towards a solution rather than acting on a tariff threat, French sources said.

Specifically, Macron and Trump agreed to hold off on a potential tariff war until the end of 2020, a French diplomatic source said, and to push ahead with broader negotiations at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to rewrite the rules of international taxation during that period.

"They agreed to give a chance to negotiations until the end of the year," the source said. "During that time period, there won't be successive tariffs."

France decided in July to apply a 3% levy on revenue from digital services earned in France by companies with revenues of more than 25 million euros ($28 million) in France and 750 million euros worldwide.

Washington threatened to impose trade tariffs on French Champagne, handbags and other goods in response. It complained the tax unfairly targeted US internet companies, a claim Paris dismissed.

French authorities have repeatedly said any international agreement on digital taxation reached within the OECD would immediately supersede the French tax.

But concerned that the United States would snub the OECD negotiations and proceed with tariffs on French goods, France has offered to suspend until the end of the year down payments on its digital tax that would have been due in April.

"What we're proposing is to give ourselves time and to show our goodwill, to postpone the remaining payments to December," a French Finance Ministry source said.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are due to negotiate the details in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday, the source added.

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