Live Updates

EU commission head Ursula von der Leyen on Tuesday (Dec 17) announced she plans to meet US President Donald Trump early next year, as transatlantic trade tensions simmer.

In a tweet, von der Leyen said she had held a "courtesy call" with Trump and that both sides "want a fair partnership" - without specifically mentioning three years of trade battles between the EU and US.

"I'm convinced, the close friendship and cooperation between Europe and the United States is crucial for mutual success," she added.

The former German defence minister said she would meet the US leader "at the beginning of 2020", but her office declined to provide more details.

Over the past three years, Trump has hit Europe with steel and aluminium tariffs, threatened similar levies on cars, and drawn up plans to target French champagne and handbags as retaliation over a digital tax in France.

In July 2018, the US and EU said they would pursue a limited trade deal as part of a truce, but the talks never made much ground.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Tuesday deplored a "very unbalanced relationship with Europe" reviving tensions.

"That can't continue. There are a lot of barriers to trade there and there are a lot of other problems that we have to address," Lighthizer told Fox Business Network.afp