President Donald Trump, assured today that his government “cannot lose” in a hypothetical trade war with the European Union (EU) using tariffs, as has been demonstrated in his struggle with China.

“(With China) it has been demonstrated that we cannot lose a war with tariffs. (…) In the case of the European Union, we are gaining 7.5 billion. And Italy has a percentage to pay,” Trump said in a joint press conference with his Italian counterpart, Sergio Mattarella, at the White House.

Trump defended that the country “is receiving a lot of money” thanks to its commercial strategy “for the first time in history”.

“Tremendous amounts of money in many different ways, including through tariffs,” he said.

In his remarks, Trump welcomed Mattarella’s support for a trade agreement between the two sides that “guarantees a level playing field for American workers,” which he believes is at a disadvantage with EU workers.

“I could solve this problem instantly, but it would be too hard. It would imply tariffs on European products that enter this country and for now we are going to try to do it without that,” he said.

Earlier this month, the United States obtained World Trade Organization (WTO) approval to impose tariffs on European Union products by ruling in its favor in a dispute over subsidies on EU-manufactured aircraft.

On Friday, Trump’s administration will begin levying $7.5 billion on European Union assets in retaliation for illegal subsidies received by European aircraft manufacturer Airbus.

Tariffs on European imports will affect a wide variety of products, from aircraft to clothing, wine, Scotch whisky, olives and cheese, among others, with the United Kingdom, France, Spain and Germany being the most affected countries.

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