Pellegrini Wants to Discuss Customs Duties With Trump

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Enclosed by security fence (photo by tvnoviny.sk)

Bratislava, April 24 (TASR) – Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini (Smer-SD) has expressed his belief that he and US President Donald Trump will address the topic of customs duties next week.

“Slovakia is the fifth biggest car exporter to the USA. I firmly believe that we’ll raise this question. I support the introduction of customs duties, but at the same time I’d like to see customs duties for industrial products drop to zero, not only from the USA to the EU but also vice versa. This could increase trade and create more jobs,” stated Pellegrini.

Pellegrini confirmed that he’ll visit the White House on the invitation of Trump. The visit will take place on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution and the 15th anniversary of Slovakia’s accession to NATO.

The two sides will also discuss arming the Slovak military and how it’s meeting its obligations towards NATO. Slovakia declared at a summit in Brussels in July 2018 that it would devote 1.6 percent of its GDP to defence until 2020 and 2 percent of GDP until 2024. At the time several members of the Alliance were reproached by Trump for not meeting their obligations.

The two should also address the talks on the Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) between Slovakia and the USA. “However, we won’t come to a final conclusion on the topic,” stressed Pellegrini.

The Slovak Foreign Affairs Ministry is currently holding talks with the USA on the DCA without the participation of the Slovak Defence Ministry. According to the Coalition Council, the Foreign Affairs Ministry should negotiate favourable terms for Slovakia. The Slovak National Party insists that the agreement mustn’t contain a single mention of the presence of US troops in Slovakia.

The Defence Ministry’s decision not to participate in the DCA talks any more surprised the Foreign Affairs Ministry. Head of SNS Andrej Danko subsequently announced that no one has turned down finances from the USA, as none had been offered in the first place. The Defence Ministry clarified that the talks on the agreement must be concluded first.