Europe could hit back at American products like Harley’s and Levi’s over Trump tariffs
(CNN) — The European Union is considering imposing tariffs on American products like motorcycles, denim, bourbon, peanut butter, orange juice, and cranberries in response to President Donald Trump’s plan to tax imports of steel and aluminum.
European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said the full list of targets, which will also include American steel, and other industrial and agricultural products, would soon be made public. She said new tariffs could be implemented in a matter of months.
Malmström described the Trump administration’s plan to impose tariffs of 25% on foreign steel and 10% on imported aluminum as “deeply unjust” and a threat to European workers.
If Trump moves forward with the tariffs, Malmström said the EU would challenge them at the World Trade Organization (WTO). Malmström said that any response from Europe would be “proportionate” and comply with WTO rules.
The US has sought to justify its plan on national security grounds. Malmström said the EU has serious doubts about that rationale, describing the metal tariffs as “an economic safeguard measure in disguise.”
With tensions running high between the US and EU, analysts have warned that the spat could devolve into a tit-for-tat trade war that would cause prices to rise and damage economic growth.
Trump threatened over the weekend to respond to any new EU trade barriers with a tax on vehicles made by European carmakers.
Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, responded Wednesday by saying that Trump was wrong about trade wars being easy to win.
“The truth is trade wars are bad and easy to lose,” said Tusk, who added that the EU’s goal was to “keep world trade alive.”
The 28 nations in the EU produce 10% of the world’s steel. EU trade officials are worried that jobs would be at risk if steel that would have otherwise been sold in the US is diverted to Europe, pushing down prices.
The US is the world’s top steel importer. The value of steel shipped into the US was just over $29 billion in 2017.