While Trump's trade representative wasted little time in announcing tariffs on European goods following the World Trade Organization's (WTO) decision to enable those tariffs, Trump himself responded to the WTO's ruling by congratulating himself for the "nice victory."
Trump may think this is a "nice victory," but industries that depend on the goods Trump is going to impose tariffs on are warning that pain is coming.
Industry grade groups representing everything from food to clothing, accessories, and alcohol say Trump's next trade war will raise prices for consumers and kill tens of thousands of jobs in each industry and the ancillary industries that support them.
The Specialty Food Association said in a statement the tariffs would decrease sales and adversely impact U.S employment at 14,000 specialty food retailers and 20,000 other food retailers across the United States. The impact would be “dramatic,” the trade group said.
Higher prices “will hit Americans in the wallet just as the holiday season is approaching,” the group said. “The cheese/charcuterie board that currently cost you $45 will put you back $60 after tariffs. The treats you provide your family to celebrate Thanksgiving and the year-end holidays may become out of reach.” [...]
This week’s tariffs on Scotch whisky, liqueurs and cordials, and wine could affect nearly $3.4 billion in imports “and could lead to a loss of approximately 13,000 U.S. jobs, including truckers, farmers, and bartenders and servers in the hospitality industry,” the Distilled Spirits Council said.
To be clear, these are expected loses at American-owned business operating here in the United States, not European businesses. European business are going to see significant losses as well, but Trump's tariffs have implications for everyone on both sides of the Atlantic.
Trump thinks this is a "nice victory" because he see the WTO's ruling as a referendum on himself.
For Trump, a ruling on the EU's subsidies for Airbus is not a ruling about what is legally permissible under international treaties and trade law -- for him, it's a ruling about his authority. Trump would have greeted a ruling against the United States as a personal insult just as he has greeted a ruling in favor of the United States as confirmation of his own greatness.
Trump sees his whole global trade war as a referendum on himself and that's why its unlikely to end anytime soon. The trade war is central to Trump's cult of personality and giving it up means giving up the cult.
The case against the European Union's subsidies for Airbus was initially filed with the WTO during the Bush administration and the lion's share of deliberation was carried out under President Obama.
As much as Trump thinks this is a victory for himself, it's actually a "victory" -- if that's even an appropriate word for it -- for those who came before him.
Just as being right is not necessarily always a reward, winning isn't either.