Thursday, 16 August, 2018

European Union to begin counter trade tariffs against USA on Friday

White House downplays China trade tensions as ‘dispute Modal Trigger White House director of trade policy Peter Navarro Getty Images
Cristina Norman | 22 June, 2018, 17:46

The tariffs, mostly 25 percent, are designed in part to "make noise" by targeting politically important states like Kentucky, Florida, and Wisconsin, EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said.

The EU has also filed a case contesting the legality of the US tariffs with the World Trade Organization.

The European Commission in Brussels gave final approval for a 25 per cent duty on 2.8 billion euros (US$3.2 billion) of EU imports of a range of USA products including Harley-Davidson Inc. motorcycles, Levi Strauss & Co. jeans and bourbon whiskey.

John Murphy, a senior vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, estimates that $75 billion in U.S. products will be subject to new foreign tariffs by the end of the first week of July.

"We don't want to do anything that would harm consumers", he said.

From blue jeans to motorbikes and whiskey, the EU's hit-list of products targeted for tariffs with the United States reads like a long list of emblematic American exports.

India had sought to be exempt from the new USA tariffs on steel and aluminum, arguing its exports were small in comparison to other countries, but got nowhere.

The European Union is enforcing tariffs on $3.4 billion in US products as of Friday in retaliation to duties the Trump administration has put on European steel and aluminum. That comes after the USA put a 25 percent tariff on $34 billion of Chinese goods, to which Beijing responded by imposing an identical charge on the same amount of American goods. If the trade dispute continues or is not resolved by the WTO, the European Union could target a second batch of American exports worth around €3.7 billion ($4.3 billion).

Brussels imposed the tariffs on consumer goods - created to target producers in Republican states where Trump draws much of his support - from 10pm on Thursday on U.S. goods worth up to €2.8bn (£2.5bn).

Economists noted that the amount of money involved with India's levies dwarfed in comparison with that of China - U.S. -India trade was $126 billion previous year, while U.S.

The China Daily has accused the Trump administration of "manipulative maneuvers", which have led to a trade war and the lowest level of Chinese investment in the United States economy in seven years.

In trade wars, there tend to many casualties and few winners. The United States' trade deficit with China past year was $376 billion, by comparison.

Together the trade battles have raised the spectre of a global trade war, spooking financial markets that fear major consequences to the world economy.

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