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Bush, EU Leaders Discuss Trade, Terrorism - 2002-05-02


President Bush met with European leaders at the White House Thursday. They discussed a number of trade differences while agreeing to continue to work together to fight terrorism.

European Commission President Romano Prodi says both sides agreed to abide by a World Trade Organization ruling over U.S. tariffs on steel imports.

President Bush announced tariffs of up to 30 percent in March in an effort to protect the domestic steel industry. That decision brought criticism from trading partners in Asia, Latin America and Europe.

President Bush says he will also work with Congress to abide by a separate WTO ruling that knocked-down U.S. export tax breaks in January because EU members successfully argued that those breaks undermine European industry by about $4 billion a year.

President Bush says he will work with Europe in a spirit of understanding and cooperation toward a common economic agenda at what he calls a time of hope for the United States and Europe that could lead to a safer and better world.

"When the EU and the United States work together, we multiply our effectiveness," he said. "Today, we discussed our desire to continue working together. We see this in the fight against global terror where we have been co-operating closely."

President Bush says that co-operation has shown results in the Balkans where he says the U.S.-EU alliance has solidified peace and prevented civil war in Macedonia. He says the allies are also working together to rebuild Afghanistan.

In the fight against terrorism, President Bush says he is ready to help Spain fight armed separatists from the group known as ETA. Mr. Bush says that commitment predates the terrorist attacks of September 11 with a promise he made to Spanish leader Jose Maria Aznar during a visit to Madrid last June.

"I just want to remind you of the timing, that I made a public statement about terrorist activities in the country of Spain prior to my country being attacked," he said. "So terrorist activities within the borders of Spain have been on my mind."

President Bush says the United States and Spain are already sharing intelligence on terrorist attacks, saying "terror is terror" and it must be fought wherever it exists.

Speaking through an interpreter, Prime Minister Aznar says President Bush has made it clear there is no differences among terrorists, all of whom, he says, are seeking to destroy democratic freedoms.

"A terrorist attacking the Twin Towers in New York or the Pentagon in Washington is tantamount to the same kind of criminal who places a car bomb in Madrid or on the streets of any other Spanish city," he said. "President Bush and I know that there are no differences as far as that goes and that is how we approach the issue and we will continue to do so."

ETA has been fighting more than 30 years for an independent Basque homeland in the provinces of northwestern Spain and southwestern France. More than 800 people have died in the violence.

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