The EU’s New Tariffs Will Hit American Agriculture. Again.

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

We already knew the European Union (EU) had drawn up a list of up to $20 billion in retaliatory tariffs it may impose on American goods in response to Trump's future actions, but now we know which goods the list will target.

Among other things, the EU's list of possible tariffs include a wide range of American agricultural products from vodka to lobsters and orange juice.

The European Commission began a public consultation over the American products ranging from ketchup and nuts to video-game consoles and bicycle pedals. The World Trade Organization will ultimately decide the level of damages the EU can seek, with a verdict possible toward the end of this year or in early 2020. [...]

The American products also include casino game tables, tobacco-seed oil, vodka, orange juice and a range of foods including chocolate and frozen lobster.

“We do not want a tit-for-tat,” [EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom] said. “While we need to be ready with countermeasures in case there is no other way out, I still believe that dialog is what should prevail between important partners such as the EU and the U.S., including in bringing an end to this longstanding dispute. The EU remains open for discussions with the U.S., provided these are without preconditions and aim at a fair outcome.

A "fair outcome" is a tall order, isn't it?

Our recent experience following the Trump regime's flailing negotiations with China tells us he set out from the very beginning with a decidedly unfair outcome in mind and has slowly caved on some of his biggest demands.

I'm not necessarily optimistic that talks with the EU will follow a similar arc because the stakes are much lower. A full-blown trade war with the EU would cause a lot of pain on both sides of the Atlantic, but not as much as escalating the trade war with China would.

If Trump's only concern is what it will mean for him politically, he might decide that destroying our trade relationship with Europe is not that big of a deal.

  • muselet

    The European Union published its preliminary list of U.S. goods being targeted in a $12 billion plan for retaliatory tariffs over subsidies to Boeing Co., with a focus on farm products from areas that help form President Donald Trump’s political base.

    [links omitted]

    Chinese leaders did the same thing: target Donald Trump’s supporters with retaliatory tariffs. What better way to express dissatisfaction?

    “Trade wars are good, and easy to win.”