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World Threatens Retaliation on Trump Tariffs

Image: World Threatens Retaliation on Trump Tariffs
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By    |   Saturday, 03 March 2018 10:19 AM

The United States' trading partners are threatening to retaliate against President Donald Trump's plans for steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports with sweeping tariffs of their own against American-made goods such as Harley-Davidson motorcycles and Kentucky bourbon.

Officials in Canada, China and the European Union are saying that if Trump follows through on his call for tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, they'll follow suit with their own tariffs that could fuel a trade war, reports The New York Times.

"Trump's decision does no good to everyone except a few American steel enterprises," Li Xinchuang, the vice chairman of the China Iron and Steel Association, said, while calling Trump's move "stupid."

Other countries are also expected to challenge Trump's plans, if he signs them next week, at the World Trade Organization, which could rule against them. If that happens, notes The Times, it will show if the president's administration plans to follow global trade regulations.

The European Union has already devised a plan to push $3.5 billion in U.S. trade, equaling the amount of European-made steel and aluminum trade that could be harmed by Trump's tariffs.

It is proposing taxes on several U.S. exports, including those of bourbon, blue jeans, orange juice, cranberries, rice, and motorcycle, and could bring a case with the WTO. According to a EU official, the bloc has been ready for Trump's announcement for months, and that plans are made for a quick response.

The EU's plans are designed to hit Trump and other key Republicans politically. House Speaker Paul Ryan is from Wisconsin, the home of Harley-Davidson motorcycles; orange juice comes from Florida, a key swing state and home to Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate; and the bourbon restrictions will put pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican.

The retaliation could also hit Trump's base among the agricultural community hard, as many of the countries being targeted with the tariffs are the largest markets for America's markets.

Darci Vetter, the former agricultural negotiator for the U.S. trade representative, told The Times the agricultural community is "rightly nervous" about the prospect of higher export taxes. Canada is the United States' largest agricultural market, with Mexico coming in at third place, and South Korea is a main market for beef, pork, corn, and fruit.

Meanwhile, officials in Canada and Australia said Trump's tariffs are going to set off retaliation measures that will be harmful to all.

On the other side, American steel and aluminum companies have applauded Trump's plan, after thousands of jobs have been lost in the past 20 years both because of automation and because of Chinese steel dumping that left U.S. mills unable to compete.

“Our view is we needed some relief on illegally traded products,” said John J. Ferriola, chairman, president and chief executive of Nucor Corporation. “Whatever the remedy, it had to be comprehensive trade relief.”

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The United States' trading partners are threatening to retaliate against President Donald Trump's plans for steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports with sweeping tariffs of their own against American-made goods such as Harley-Davidson motorcycles and Kentucky...
trump, tariffs, trade, world, response
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2018-19-03
Saturday, 03 March 2018 10:19 AM
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