The European Union’s Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said the E.U. should be exempt from U.S. tariffs. She pointed out that as the E.U. and U.S. are close allies the many affected products shouldn’t face tariffs.
The E.U. Retaliates
The E.U. now intends to levy import tariffs on a spectrum of U.S. products. Malmstrom said the E.U. has produced a provisional target list of affected products. The list is currently being shared among member states. This move is retaliatory as the United States have already announced their intention to create new tariffs on steel imports.
Among the affected products include everything from peanut butter, orange juice and U.S. whiskey, in addition to cranberries and other products.
“Certain types of bourbon are on the list, as are other items such as peanut butter, cranberries, orange juice. Very soon that list will be public, so you will be able to plan your whiskey drinking,” Malmstrom said.
More Tariffs to Come
The list presented by Malmstrom reflects recommendations made by Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission president. That said, it looks as though the aforementioned products are only the beginning. It also looks as though the E.U. may also target a wealth of additional products with its tariffs. Among them include Levi’s jeans and Harley Davidson motorcycles.
This is a direct response to the U.S. president’s announcement from last week. In it, he said he intended to levy a 25 percent steel import tariff as well as a 20 percent levy on aluminium. President Trump cited national security concerns for his decision. Both steel and aluminium tariffs are likely to impact metal exporters from the E.U., including the United Kingdom.
Controversial American Move
Despite the fact that Trump tweeted “trade wars are good and easy to win,” his economic advisor, Gary Cohn, disagreed. In fact, Cohn felt strongly enough in opposition to Trump’s decision that he chose to resign from his position. He failed to convince the president to change his mind about the tariffs.
European Council president Donald Tusk’s opinions seem to align more closely to Cohn than to Trump. While in Luxembourg, he spoke firmly against the U.S. move.
“Following the announcement of President Trump there is a risk of a serious trade dispute between the US and the rest of the world including the EU,” said Tusk. “President Trump has recently said ‘trade wars are good and easy to win’ but the truth is quite the opposite. Trade wars are bad and easy to lose. For this reason I strongly believe that now is the time for politicians on both sides of the Atlantic to act responsibly,” he added.
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