Donald Trump

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Trump Meets With Netherlands' Rutte Ahead Of NATO Summit

July 02, 2018 - 1:51 pm
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WASHINGTON (WCBS 880/AP) -- President Donald Trump on Monday welcomed Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to the White House, ahead of an upcoming NATO summit and major decisions on trade.

Trump met with Rutte in the Oval Office, where the two leaders were expected to discuss next week's NATO meetings in Brussels. The president has advocated for NATO members to boost their defense spending and his appearance at the defense alliance will be followed by a closely watched summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

CBS News Foreign Affairs Correspondent Pamela Falk noted that while Trump and Rutte have met before, this is their first initial meeting.

“NATO’s going to be a big issue, trade, shared investment, and defense and security – so they’ve got a lot on the agenda,” Falk said. “And this comes a day after President Trump said, on trade, that Europe is as bad as China, and singled out a lot of members of NATO for not paying their dues.”

The Netherlands' leader will be at the White House amid trade tensions involving the United States and a number of allies.

The European Union has warned Trump not to impose tariffs on auto imports, saying it could lead to retaliation involving some $300 billion in U.S. goods.

Rutte himself has also criticized Trump for a number of decisions.

“The Dutch Prime Minister Rutte has been very negative on the U.S. withdrawal on the Iran nuclear deal, on the U.S. withdrawal from climate change agreement, as well as, more recently, he and his party have been very negative about the travel ban, and that comes at a time when the Dutch are negotiating an American customs personnel opening – in other words – a port of call in Holland; in the Netherlands, and their country wants to make sure that they’re not part or complicit in any entry ban,” Falk said.

But the Dutch have also put out a lot of facts in anticipation of the meeting – noting that the U.S. has a trade surplus of $30 million with the Netherlands that creates 800,000 jobs for Americans.

The Dutch have also noted that they provided a special gift to New York City.

“New York City has to thank the Dutch for 10 million daffodils that were given after 9/11. I mean, it was smaller right after 9/11 – it was the tulip mogul, Hans van Waardenburg – and then he was told that tulips don’t come back, so he donated daffodils that he had been selling to Bryant Park and Union Square for 25 years,” Falk said. “He donated daffodils, and it has been multiplying over the years, and now the estimate is 10 million daffodils in New York City thanks to the Dutch.”

Answering questions with Rutte, Trump warned the World Trade Organization that if the United States isn't treated "properly, we will be doing something."

Trump again denied plans to withdraw the U.S. from the WTO, but told reporters in the Oval Office that the trade organization needs to change its ways.

Trump has struck U.S. allies with tough tariffs and is planning to impose tough trade penalties on China later this week.

He said the WTO has treated the U.S. "very badly and I hope they change their ways." He says he's not "planning anything now" but if the WTO doesn't treat the U.S. properly, "we will be doing something."

Trump did not elaborate.

(© 2018 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)