New Export Tariffs about to Be Born in the USA
Tough new EU tariffs on American goods are expected to be in place by July in response to US President Donald Trump’s imposition of charges on steel and aluminium imports from Europe and elsewhere.
The new tariffs were approved in June by EU leaders and will target iconic American imports such as jeans, whiskey and motorcycles in a €2.8 billion retaliatory strike as fears grow of a long and costly Transatlantic trade war.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde has warned that Trump’s “America First” policy has caused clouds over the global economy to grow “darker by the day”.
The President walked away from a joint communique agreed by the G7 leaders after a confrontational meeting in Canada this month. The statement called for “free, fair and mutually beneficial trade” and stressed the importance of fighting protectionism, which was clearly too much for Trump.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel described Trump’s rejection of the G7 communique as “sobering and a bit depressing”.
An unnamed European Commission source told AFP that the new tariffs were imminent, while others said it would not happen until early July.
The list of tariffs has been on the table for months after Trump first threatened the EU, along with Canada, Mexico and other countries, with levies of 25 per cent on steel imports and 10 per cent on aluminium.
European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker said in March that the bloc was drawing up plans for import duties on US products that would include Harley-Davidson motorcycles, bourbon and Levi’s jeans. American cranberries, oranges, sweetcorn and peanut butter are among food products believed to be on the list, along with steel, footwear, cosmetics and even bed linen.
Trump claimed America had been obliged to levy the tariffs as it has been exploited by the EU and others as the world’s “piggy bank” for years. “Fair trade is now to be called fool trade if it is not reciprocal,” he tweeted.
The IMF is still forecasting global growth of 3.9 per cent for 2018 and 2019, but that could change if a trade war escalates.
Lagarde said: “The biggest and darkest cloud that we see is the deterioration in confidence that is prompted by an attempt to challenge the way in which trade has been conducted, in which relationships have been handled and in which multilateral organisations have been operating,”
World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director-General Roberto Azevedo criticized the United States’ conduct, saying: They have been complaining about the system, they say that they want to improve the system, but we would expect a more constructive approach on their part”.
Germany is Europe’s biggest exporter to the United States and is concerned about Trump’s latest threats to slap tariffs on automobiles, hitting their exports of BMWs, Mercedes, Volkswagen and Porsche vehicles.
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