The Strategist

The European Union is getting ready for a trade war with the United States


02/22/2018 - 13:51



The US Department of Commerce called for a sharp increase in duties on imports of steel and aluminum. The European Commission is preparing retaliatory measures: the union may ban American motorcycles and whiskey.



The White House
The White House
The European Union is preparing for a trade war with the United States. If Washington's restrictions on the import of steel and aluminium affect European enterprises, then the EU can, within a few days, introduce retaliatory duties on important products from the United States, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) newspaper reported, citing sources in the European Commission. At the same time, penalties can be imposed on the widest range of American products from orange juice to motorcycles and whiskey.

According to the interlocutors of the publication, agricultural products from the United States, including potatoes and tomatoes, are topping the list of the European Commission. At the same time, Europeans want to strengthen the retaliatory measures by the fact that the blow is supposed to be inflicted on goods of great importance for the constituencies of the closest supporters of US President Donald Trump. This is, in particular, motorcycles, since the head office of Harley Davidson is located in Wisconsin, where the House of Representatives speaker Paul Ryan came from for Congress.

The list of the European Commission includes Bourbon whiskey, which is produced mainly in Tennessee and Kentucky - in the homeland of Trump’s supporter Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Republican majority in the Senate. As the FAZ notes, the European Commission is basing on the list of goods that was drawn up during the last major trade conflict with the US under President George W. Bush. The EU, in response to possible penalties on steel and aluminium, may react with higher duties on goods from completely different sectors of the economy, thus not contradicting the norms of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

At the end of last week, US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross proposed to introduce large-scale protectionist duties on the supply of aluminium and steel from 14 countries to protect "US national security."

Ross offered three different options: to increase the import duty of at least 24 percent for all countries, or to raise the tariff to at least 53 percent for imports from the Russian Federation, China, Brazil, Costa Rica, Egypt, India, Malaysia, South Korea, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam. As a third option, the introduction of "quotas for all products from all countries equal to 63% of their exports in 2017" is proposed.

source: dw.de