The European Union isn’t happy about US president Donald Trump’s announcement of tough trade tariffs and has wasted no time in putting together a list of 100 things it will tax if the US doesn’t back down.
The list, which has been circulated to the 28 EU member states, would see a 25% tit-for-tat levy placed on a range of consumer, agricultural and steel products, it’s been reported by Bloomberg.
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The European Commission refused to confirm the media reports when contacted by Verdict.
It’s thought the goods on the list are worth $3.5 billion to the US economy and its creation sends a message to Washington about the potential costs of a trade war.
The list reportedly includes:
Cecilia Malmström, EU commissioner for trade, told the BBC:
We are looking at possibilities to retaliate, meaning we will also put taxes or tariffs on US imports to the European Union.
Malmström added that Europe would rather deescalate the crisis than retaliate, but said it would report the issue to the World Trade Organisation if Trump follows through.
Trump tweeted plans for a 25% tax on steel imports and 10% on aluminium on Friday last week.
Why it matters:
Many of the items on the EU tax list, originate in states with political clout in the US elections, such as orange juice from Florida, a swing state.
The EU would appear to be putting pressure on Trump to reverse his trade plans.
European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, outlined the EU’s strategy in an interview with Germany broadcasters:
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If the Americans impose tariffs on steel and aluminium, then we must treat American products the same way.
We must show that we can also take measures. This cannot be a unilateral transatlantic action by the Americans. I’m not saying we have to shoot back, but we must take action.
We will put tariffs on Harley-Davidson, on bourbon and on blue jeans – Levi’s.
Trump escalated the dispute on Saturday, hitting back at EU threats for retaliation with threats that he will tax European-made cars.
If the E.U. wants to further increase their already massive tariffs and barriers on U.S. companies doing business there, we will simply apply a Tax on their Cars which freely pour into the U.S. They make it impossible for our cars (and more) to sell there. Big trade imbalance!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 3, 2018
Meanwhile, Mexico and Canada have also said they will fight back against the trade barriers.
Mexico asked Washington to exclude it from any steel tariffs but said it will have “no option” but to retaliate with tariffs of its own if the US does not, the Financial Times reported last night.
Canadian trade minister Francois-Phillippe Champagne said the taxes would be “unacceptable”. and said he would take measures to defend the country’s workers.
US jeans company Levi Strauss has denounced Trump’s trade policies.
The company said:
Unilateral tariff impositions risk retaliation and destabilising the global economy, in which case American brands, workers and consumers will ultimately suffer.