Trade

EU Moves Ahead With Tariffs On American Goods

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

European trade officials said they would wait until after the presidential election to make a decision on imposing tariffs on American goods and that's exactly what they did, but it was evidently wrong to infer that they would postpone the decision until after Joe Biden takes office in he wins.

The European Union waited and then decided to move ahead with tariffs in American goods worth about $4 billion per year.

The tariffs took effect at midnight last night and they're significant.

From the Washington Post:

The list includes a 15 percent tariff on Boeing airplanes and a 25 percent tariff on a sweep of products including tractors, frozen shellfish, gin, suitcases, video game consoles, cotton and salmon. [...]

German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier, who led the discussions Monday among the 27 E.U. nations, conveyed hope that the Biden administration “will contribute to world trade relations being more rules-based, being more multilateral, being less protectionist in the future.”

But Altmaier said E.U. ministers decided to move forward in part because the Biden trade team — and any accompanying change in U.S. policy — is unlikely to be in place until February or March.

In short, European officials want to have the strongest hand possible in place when they finally have a chance to talk to the Biden administration. And that's understandable.

The Biden administration will likely try to extract some form of concession from the European Union to appease the American business and labor communities even if Donald Trump is solely to blame for the mess we're in. But this will be resolved, because as much as the Biden administration and the European Union want to avoid looking weak, they also want to put this behind us.

Between now and next spring, yet another tariff on American agricultural will be a final, parting gift from the Trump regime to people who stupidly voted for him anyway.

I can't honestly say I give a shit at this point. I may even get a couple months of cheaper salmon at my grocery out this. Industry can't expect sympathy after lining up behind the man -- and more generally the political party -- who brought them ruin.

All of this is happening because, in a quest to find something; anything to use against Europe, Trump dug up an irrelevant, 16-year-old, Bush-era dispute to legally justify tariffs.

The Trump regime responded to the news in a manner that made me literally laugh out loud in bed.

(Reuters) - U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Monday expressed disappointment about the European Union's decision to impose tariffs on U.S. planes and other goods, but refrained from threatening to respond with further U.S. action.

"The United States is disappointed by the action taken by the EU today," he said. "The EU has long proclaimed its commitment to following WTO rules, but today’s announcement shows they do so only when convenient to them."

They cannot possibly believe their own bullshit, can they?

This is coming from a regime that has blocked the World Trade Organization from confirming new appellate judges and even a new director general.

  • muselet

    The EU pretty much had to impose tariffs on US goods.

    If the outgoing administration had been in any meaningful way normal, the EU would probably have shrugged and waited to hash out an endgame with the incoming administration. As it is, the EU had to guard against the Trump administration doing more damage during the lame-duck period.

    Just one more reason to be happy about last week’s election results.

    –alopecia

  • katanahamon

    Mike Pompeo said there would be “a smooth transition to..a second Trump administration.” I’m boiling again. That, Barr using the DOJ as Rump’s official goon squad, it’s time. It’s time we rise up to protest this failed loser and get him out of the White House. I’m angry..this must stop..not seventy some days from now, but..now. Right now. There’s already five million more popular votes for Biden. Why am I even justifying this? We knew he was setting the stage and packing the courts to try to subvert our democracy, how much damage will we let him do? Why isn’t America stopping this unAmerican baby man??