Monday, 23 July, 2018

European Union taunts trade 'bullies' as tariff battle with Trump deepens

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Nellie Chapman | 12 March, 2018, 22:02

Trump pushed back as he visited western Pennsylvania, in the heart of United States steel country, where he boasted of his tariffs and denounced low-quality imports. After a meeting with Lighthizer over the weekend Cecilia Malmström, the European Union's top trade official, said there was still "no immediate clarity on the exact US procedure for exemption", so the discussions will continue this week.

After a telephone call with Turnbull on Friday, Trump posted a Twitter message saying that Turnbull "is committed to having a very fair and reciprocal military and trade relationship". Instead, they said, Trump is bolstering domestic industries in violation of global trade rules.

Trump's decision is likely to play well in steel towns and the industrial mid-west but Congress representatives from agricultural, export-orientated states will probably fear retaliation, as will those from the IT areas such as Seattle and Silicon Valley, which rely on global markets for their success. "It looked like Canada was potentially going to play hard to get".

"If he doesn't see that there's room to maneuver, he'll create some", said Bozell, president of For America, a conservative grassroots political group.

The European Union and Japan, the United States' top economic and military ally in Asia, also reiterated that their exports were not a threat to U.S. national security, rejecting Trump's justification for imposing the tariffs.

The country will consider filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) if the USA presses ahead with the steel tariffs.

"We can't even sell our farming goods in there, they totally restrict us". Much as Mexico's trade surplus with the USA has been growing, it is not because the country hones Trump-like trade mercantilism ("exports good, imports bad"), takes advantage of the US or generally runs a big trade surplus with the world.

"We are entering an era where trade war is starting to show its teeth", French Trade Secretary Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne told POLITICO in Brussels.

The proclamation also notes how closely linked the United States, Canada and Mexico are, both economically and in terms of being physically next to each other.

Cecilia Malmström was speaking at a conference in Brussels, following discussions at the weekend with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

The EU is also maintaining a threat of counter-measures that would target United States imports ranging from maize to motorcycles, and may publish its list next week to allow industry and other interested parties to give their input.

However, following the two-day talks, European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem tweeted: "No immediate clarity on the exact USA procedure for exemption however, so discussions will continue next week".

Brussels has pushed back hard against Washington's shock measures, loudly announcing a list of USA products it could hit with countermeasures.

As with his other America First policies, Trump's protectionist move faces criticism even inside the U.S., with news reports saying that some of his advisers opposed imposition of the new tariffs.

"I think this is counterproductive", Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, said Sunday on CNN. Our PM needs to stop playing trade games before he does real damage.