Pompeo is paying an official visit to several European countries, including Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the UK, in a bid to seek common ground with Washington’s European allies.
US State Secretary Mike Pompeo has said relations between Europe and the US are “excellent” but current trade terms are “not fair” to America, speaking in an interview for Euronews during a visit to the Netherlands.
Pompeo said Donald Trump was “trying to get a fair, reciprocal, even playing field for America and for Europe” and that “disagreements” were a normal part of transatlantic diplomacy.
Asked to comment on US President Donald Trump having earlier referred to the European Union as a ‘foe’, Pompeo replied:
“I think what President Trump meant was there are places where the United States economy hasn’t been treated fairly.”
“We can’t sell our agricultural products in most countries inside the European Union yet the European Union can sell their products into the United States — that’s not fair, that’s not reciprocal. No-one would think you would set up a trade regime that would permit that to continue to happen, to have unequal tariffs.”
On the issues of US foreign and trade policy, the Secretary of State denied there were tensions with Europe, specifically, over how to deal with Iran and Venezuela.
“I meet with my European partners constantly,” Pompeo said.
“There are always … disagreements, there’s spats, there’s trade disputes … but it’s always the case that our shared value sets … those always prevail and they will here again too.”
He added: “There’s a long history of the United States and Europe having places where we disagree, I’m sure that will continue but the overall relationship? I must say I think it is excellent.”
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Speaking to Euronews, Pompeo also said the US was keen to establish a post-Brexit trade deal with Britain but denied Trump was trying to influence British politics by publicly calling for a no-deal withdrawal from the EU.
“The people of the United Kingdom are the biggest supporters [of Brexit], right? They voted for it. This is what actually matters. That is why Brexit will proceed. It’s not because of what any third party says, it’s because the people of the United Kingdom have demanded it.”
On the eve of his UK state visit, Donald Trump had waded into British politics and called on Britain to leave the European Union without a deal if Brussels refuses to meet its demands.
Trump vowed to “go all out” to ensure a free trade deal between the UK and US is delivered promptly within months of Britain exiting the EU.
When asked about the spiralling trade tension between the United States and China against the backdrop of the Huawei row and the American ban on doing business with the Chinese telecom giant, Mike Pompeo insisted that US intelligence agencies were right to have concerns about the company, despite the scepticism expressed by Donald Trump.
“Look, I used to run the CIA,” Pompeo said. “There’s no doubt the intelligence community gets things wrong from time to time but their overall body of work is excellent and to be relied upon and trusted. Western countries, liberal democracies share a common value set. The Chinese don’t share that value set.”
According to the US Secretary of State, Huawei’s corporate governance, with three Communist Party members on its board of directors, was “deeply inconsistent” with European standards.
“Europeans care deeply about privacy, I know that very well,” Pompeo said.
“One can’t have private information flowing across a network that has access and control from the Chinese government.”
Following the US crackdown on the Chinese telecom titan Huawei Technologies, several US companies have already suspended business ties with it, including Google, whose Android operating system is currently used by Huawei mobile phones.
Huawei, in turn, has refuted allegations that it is being sponsored by the Chinese state and is spying on its behalf through its devices.
Mike Pompeo was in The Hague attending a US-Dutch entrepreneurship conference and to meet with Dutch counterpart, Stef Blok, as part of a tour to several European countries, including Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the UK, seeking common ground with Washington’s European allies.