Otherwise, non-paying countries may lose trade preferences from the United States, the President warned.
President Donald Trump warned that the US could take “trade measures” against NATO countries not contributing enough to the Alliance’s defense budget. The President said this during a lunch with permanent representatives of the States that are members of the UN Security Council, held on Thursday afternoon at the White House.
Trump, who has just returned to Washington from London, where the President participated in the summit of NATO leaders, shared with diplomats his impressions of the forum and expressed thoughts on the future of the Alliance. During the summit, Donald Trump repeatedly urged allies to increase their contribution to the bloc’s defense budget.
According to the President, many NATO countries are gradually approaching the level of defense spending at 2 percent of GDP.
“Many countries are close and getting closer to 2 percent. And some are not so close, and we can take measures related to trade. It’s not fair: they get protection from the US and don’t increase spending,” Trump said, calling such countries “defaulters.”
“You get protection in the form of the greatest military force in the world, and you don’t pay. You are defaulters,” the President said, referring to NATO countries that do not want to increase their defense spending. – So I told some people that they were defaulters. Not everyone can like it. It is impossible to say it too courteous away because otherwise, they will behave the same as they have for the last 15 years. Two percent-honestly, it’s not that much.”
Assessing the results of the summit as a whole, Trump called it “absolutely successful.” According to the President, NATO is in “very good shape” and US relations with other countries are “really excellent.”