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EU Calls Trade War Talks With Asia to Plot Response to Trump Tariffs

Leaders from virtually every major Asian power will join European Union heads of government for a summit in Brussels to discuss trade in October, as they plot their responses to U.S. President Donald Trump’s tariff offensive.

Fifty-one European and Asian countries will be represented at the meeting on trade and climate change on Oct. 18 and Oct. 19, the European Council said in a statement. The summit could serve to coordinate responses to the U.S. administration.

The EU, China, and Japan have all been at loggerheads with Trump over his decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord and unilaterally impose tariffs on imports from his country’s biggest trading partners.

The meeting coincides with an EU summit on Oct. 18, which is also scheduled to tackle the “future trade policy,” and the “role of the EU in the multilateral trade system.”

Originally planned as a two-day event and marked as key date to agree the terms of the U.K.’s withdrawal from the EU next year, the European summit has now been downgraded to a one-day event, according to the latest calendar.

Two European officials familiar with the planning for the European agenda this fall said that the crunch talks on Brexit are now likely to happen at the informal gathering of leaders in Salzburg, Austria, on Sept. 20. One said that given the slow pace of negotiations so far, Brexit talks are heading for a late-night cliffhanger reminiscent of the Greek bailout negotiations.

A third official said the EU is concerned that the U.K. isn’t bringing sufficient urgency to the negotiating effort and preparations for a no-deal Brexit will accelerate if there is no breakthrough in September.

—With assistance from Jonathan Stearns, Alexander Weber and Esteban Duarte.