Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven cautioned that President Donald Trump’s plan to impose additional trade tariffs “will hurt us all in the long run” during a White House summit on Tuesday, even as the U.S. leader continued to push for the proposal.
In his first joint public appearance with the leader of a European Union member since announcing his plan for tariffs on aluminum and steel imports last week, Trump maintained that action was needed to address the “very unfair trade situation” between the U.S. and other nations.
But the proposal was met with opposition from the Swedish leader, who stressed that his nation’s wealth has been “built on cooperation, competitiveness and free trade” — not increased trade barriers.
“I am convinced that increased tariffs will hurt us all in the long run,” Löfven said during a bilateral press conference with Trump in the East Room of the White House.
Trump said last week that he wanted to impose tariffs on imports of steel at 25 percent and aluminum at 10 percent. In response, the EU began drafting plans to impose tariffs on a wide range of U.S. consumer, agricultural and steel products should Trump follow through.
“The European Union has been particularly tough on the United States,” Trump said. “They make it almost impossible for us to do business with them.”
Trump also expanded on his threat over the weekend to that the U.S. would “apply a Tax on their Cars” in the EU in retaliation for the proposed countermeasures.
“They can do whatever they like, but if they do that, then we put a big tax of 25 percent on their cars, and believe me, they won’t be doing it very long,” Trump said.