U.S. President Donald Trump has extended a formal invitation to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to visit the White House, according to two EU officials briefed on the matter.
Trump sent the invitation last Friday for the two to discuss trade — a source of tension between Brussels and Washington due to Trumps recently imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum, which prompted the EU to levy its own retaliatory duties on U.S. products. The invitation came before American motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson announced Monday it would move some of its production out of the U.S. to avoid the EU tariffs, a decision which Trump criticized.
A Commission spokesperson said it was too early to buy tickets for Juncker: “We dont have a date yet for the president going to the U.S.,” the spokesperson said, adding that the Commission is looking into the issue.
Juncker had offered during a G7 meeting in Canada earlier this month to make the trip as soon as possible in order to find — if possible — common ground on trade in the automotive sector, which Trump also threatened last week with tariffs. Juncker hoped to offer a comprehensive view of mutual trade in goods and services, investments and profits for the American side, EU diplomats and officials said after the G7 meeting.
Juncker recently told members of the Bavarian regional parliament in Germany that during the G7 summit, “Trump told me: Jean-Claude, you are a brutal killer!'” He said he took it as a compliment, “even if I cant be completely sure.”