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President Trump. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump's "deal" with the EU on trade is more a fragile ceasefire — no significant territory was gained or lost, no white flags have been raised, and the president's trigger finger remains itchy. Crucially, though, the guns have gone silent.

Why it matters: Looming over the White House meeting yesterday between Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was Trump’s threat of a 20% levy on auto imports that would hit EU countries like Germany (and U.S. consumers) hard, and could lead to a full-scale trade war. That threat is now on hold while the sides negotiate.

How it happened, per the FT:

  • "Mr Trump surprised the Europeans by quickly declaring that he wanted to hammer out an agreement. Within three hours there was a one-page joint statement laying out a vague plan for further discussions and a ceasefire on tariffs."
  • "Mr Trump seized on what he said were promises from the EU to buy more soybeans and liquefied natural gas in his announcement. Yet European officials said on Thursday that the EU delegation had done little more than describe the reality of global markets to the president."

Behind the scenes, from Axios’ Jonathan Swan:

  • Trump keeps privately telling skeptics of his trade tactics that he needs “space” to negotiate. He’s asking them to trust that, given room to maneuver, he’ll bring the trade standoffs to a satisfactory conclusion.
  • But the $12 billion in subsidies announced Tuesday for farmers hurt by the trade war was seen almost as an admission of failure. Now, pressure is ratcheting up from the Hill and free traders in the West Wing. They want to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
  • After yesterday’s announcement, officials in Washington, Brussels and Beijing are looking for a sign as to whether Trump has been spooked and is planning to back down. It’s impossible to divine that because Trump would never articulate it out loud.

The view from Beijing...

Chinese leaders welcomed the U.S.-EU agreement, but noted that no progress has been made for a similar U.S.-China deal, Caixin Global reports.

  • "Both sides thought the other was a paper tiger and would fold relatively quickly," Scott Kennedy of CSIS tells Axios’ Erica Pandey. "Certainly, the Chinese miscalculated and are probably regretful of some of the steps they've taken. But it's hard to say that the U.S. has the upper hand because China is not showing any signs of relenting."
  • "I'm sure they recognize that the U.S. collaborating with the EU puts China in a more difficult position, as the U.S. is less isolated now. They also know a statement in the Rose Garden does not equal implementation."

The view from Tokyo...

Japan is also wary of auto tariffs, and looking to ratchet down trade tensions.

  • "They're probably taking notes as to what kind of deal took place yesterday. They're trying to figure out if these kinds of sweeteners, like buying U.S. soybeans, will work for the Trump administration," says Mireya Solís of Brookings.

A closing thought, from FT World Trade Editor Shawn Donnan: “The biggest tension in the global trading system today is the internal one in Donald Trump. He loves tariffs. He also loves making deals.”

Go deeper

43 mins ago - World

Brazil senators vote to recommend criminal charges for Bolsonaro

Brazilian senators vote on probe into President Bolsonaro's handling of pandemic. Photo: Gustavo Minas/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Brazilian Senate committee Tuesday voted to approve a report recommending President Jair Bolsonaro be charged with a raft of criminal indictments, including crimes against humanity over his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, per AP.

Why it matters: Bolsonaro has become the face of a right-wing approach to the pandemic that includes repudiating vaccines and masks and resisting lockdowns and other mitigation measures. The Senate report holds him personally responsible for half of the country's 600,000 deaths.

Former Georgetown tennis coach pleads guilty to accepting admissions bribes

Gordon Ernst (left) former head tennis coach at Georgetown, outside a courthouse in Boston in 2019. Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

A former Georgetown University head tennis coach has pleaded guilty Tuesday to bribery charges related to facilitating the admission of prospective applicants.

Why it matters: Gordon Ernst solicited and accepted bribes from William Singer, ringleader of the cheating scheme uncovered by Operation Varsity Blues, and families in exchange for helping prospective applicants get into Georgetown as student athletes, according to the Justice Department.

4 hours ago - Health

CDC says some immunocompromised people can get fourth COVID shot

Photo: Noriko Hayashi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in updated guidelines Tuesday that some immunocompromised people who have received either Pfizer or Moderna's COVID-19 vaccines will be able to get a fourth shot.

Details: People over 18 who are "moderately to severely immunocompromised" and have received three doses of an mRNA vaccine may get a fourth shot (of either the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines) at least six months after getting their third Pfizer or Moderna dose, per the CDC.