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Beating the Trade War Drums

Omri Nahmias

Trump takes on world over deficits and trade

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

 Mishpacha image

PHOTO: AFP IMAGEBANK

C

all it the Tweet shot across the bow

 President Trump’s missive upon departure from the G7 summit in Canada, and his refusal to sign the final summit communique, could set off an all-out trade war. At the very least, the president is showing that he’s willing to alienate America’s closest trading partners.

By June 15, Trump is expected to publish a list of Chinese technological products worth $50 billion on which America will slap a 25% tariff. That comes after US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced last week that the administration would levy 25% tariffs on steel imports from Europe, Canada, and Mexico, and 10% tariffs on aluminum imports. Trump justified the move by insisting the tariffs are necessary for national security. According to the administration, low steel prices threaten the native steel industry. What’s more, a weak domestic steel industry means the US must import most of its steel, posing a potential threat to the production of weapons. Steelworkers, like many other blue-collar workers, are considered Trump’s voter base.

Not surprisingly, Europe, Canada, and Mexico are furious. Europe announced that by June 20, it would publicize its own list of retaliatory measures, worth some $3.3 billion. At the same time, those nations lodged a complaint with the World Trade Organization.

But this is a battle Trump doesn’t intend to lose. Steelworkers, along with coal miners and farmers, voted Trump into power. So if that means insulting Canadian leader Justin Trudeau or accusing America’s close allies of treating the country like their “piggy bank” — so be it.

Trump’s conduct is also the latest reminder that his tactics are unorthodox, but effective. Even as the press pilloried his controversial statements and conduct, he was carried to office in 2016. So too today, when it seems clear that America is on a collision course with its allies over trade.

 

EU countries that export the most goods to the US (in euros):

Germany — €112 billion

Britain — €52 billion

Italy — €40 billion

France — €34 billion

Ireland — €32 billion

 

EU countries that import the most goods from the US (in euros):

Britain — €53 billion

Germany — €45 billion

Holland — €35 billion

France — €28 billion

Belgium — €25 billion

 

Goods that the US and the EU trade most:

Cars and motorcycles

Aircraft and equipment

Medications

Motors

Medical apparatus

Fuel

(Originally featured  in Mishpacha, Issue 714). Statistics courtesy of the European Union, as of 2017)

 

 

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