Home US & Americas Americas EU to present Trump trade war riposte

EU to present Trump trade war riposte

EU

AFP |

The EU will Wednesday set out plans to strike back against US President Donald Trump’s threatened steel and aluminum tariffs, with flagship US products such as jeans, motorbikes and whiskey in the crosshairs.

No firm decision is expected as Trump has yet to sign into effect his plan to set tariffs to protect US carmakers from what he calls unfair competition, but French President Emmanuel Macron has demanded the EU be ready to act swiftly if he does.

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker on Friday threatened to hit big-name US brands such as Harley Davidson motorbikes, Levi’s jeans and bourbon whiskey with import duties.

Juncker, who on Wednesday met Lakshmi Mittal, the boss of the world’s top steelmaker Arcelor Mittal, said last week the EU would “react firmly” to protect European industry.

This prompted Trump to fire back a threat to tax cars from the EU, further fuelling fears of a full-on transatlantic trade war erupting.

“We are looking at possibilities to retaliate, meaning that we will also put taxes or tariffs on US imports to the European Union,” EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem told the BBC on Monday.

Read more: Trump name stripped from Panama hotel in property dispute

Despite Juncker’s headline-grabbing threat to iconic US brands, the hitlist the EU is working on does not mention specific businesses, using instead the dry language of customs regulations.

Malmstrom said the EU was also looking at “safeguard” measures to protect its industry — restricting the bloc’s imports of steel and aluminium to stop foreign supplies flooding the European market, which is allowed under WTO rules.

Trump, elected on a promise to roll back the effects of globalisation on the US economy with an “America First” platform, said Thursday he planned to impose 25 percent tariffs on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminium. 

Juncker, who on Wednesday met Lakshmi Mittal, the boss of the world’s top steelmaker Arcelor Mittal, said last week the EU would “react firmly” to protect European industry.

Read more: Rap icon Jay-Z attacked by Trump in vicious tweet

Customs hitlist

Europe exports around five billion euros’ worth of steel and a billion euros’ worth of aluminium to the US each year, and the commission estimates Trump’s tariffs could cost some 2.8 billion euros.

  • 22
    Shares

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here