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Trump and Juncker in the Oval Office. Photo: Kevin Dietsch, Pool/Getty Images

President Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced Wednesday that they will open negotiations to, as Trump put it, "work toward zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers and zero subsidies," and hold off on any further tariffs unless either side terminates the negotiations.

Why it matters: The trade war appears to be on hold, at least on the European front. However, importantly, Trump said the path toward "zero tariffs" applied to "all non-auto industrial goods." Trump has been mulling auto tariffs that could hit EU countries like Germany hard. Juncker struck an optimistic tone, saying “I had the intention to make a deal today and we made a deal today.”

More details:

  • Trump and Juncker also said the EU would begin importing more liquefied natural gas and soybeans from the U.S.
  • Trump said the process would be led by an "executive working group" of "very intelligent people on both sides."
  • The leaders said the U.S. and EU would work together to reform the WTO and cut down on unfair trade practices.

Smart take, from FT World Trade Editor Shawn Donnan: "This is basically an announcement to resume broad trade negotiations suspended since the Obama administration... TTIP 2.0."

Go deeper: Read the joint U.S.-EU statement.

Go deeper

Senate confirms retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as defense secretary

Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

The Senate voted 93-2 on Friday to confirm retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as secretary of defense. Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) were the sole "no" votes.

Why it matters: Austin is the first Black American to lead the Pentagon and President Biden's second Cabinet nominee to be confirmed.

House will transmit article of impeachment to Senate on Monday, Schumer says

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that the House will deliver the article of impeachment against former President Trump for "incitement of insurrection" on Monday.

Why it matters: The Senate is required to begin the impeachment trial at 1 p.m. the day after the article is transmitted.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Private equity bets on delayed tax reform in Biden administration

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

In normal times, private equity would be nervous about Democratic Party control of both the White House and Congress. But in pandemic-consumed 2021, the industry seems sanguine.

Driving the news: Industry executives and lobbyists paid very close attention to Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen's confirmation hearings this week, and came away convinced that tax reform isn't on the near-term agenda.