Trade

USTR Threatens 100% Tariffs on European Goods

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The Trump regime has previously threatened to increase tariffs on European goods and impose new tariffs on goods that were previously exempted, but now we know how big those tariffs could be.

Trump's latest threat followed the European Union's failed attempt to appeal the World Trade Organization's (WTO) ruling in favor of Trump's tariffs and the office of his trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, is now soliciting public comments on tariffs of up to 100 percent.

On Thursday, the United States Trade Representative published the updated list, which comprises a variety of products that many Americans buy from Europe, including:

    Dairy products such as yogurt, butter and several types of cheese, like Cheddar, Parmesan, Emmenthaler and Gouda.
    Olives and olive oil.
    Sweet biscuits, waffles and wafers.
    Axes, pliers and bolt cutters.
    Cashmere sweaters, men’s suits, women’s swimwear and blankets.
    Wine.
    Sparkling wine.
    Grape brandy.
    Scotch and Irish whiskey.

The trade representative also said it was considering raising tariff rates on imported items that are already subject to 25 percent tariffs as part of the Airbus dispute.

It's not as if anyone is going to literally die if they can no longer afford to buy their favorite European cheese or spirits, but it's not European companies that will pay the highest price for this.

American businesses such as liquor stores, bars and restaurants that serve or sell these goods will either pay the price and cut jobs as a result, or they'll stop carrying these goods and probably lose business and cut jobs as a result. In any case, Americans will pay for Trump's tariffs; again.

We shouldn't sleep on Trump's budding trade war with Europe because while it would never cover the same amount of goods we import from China, it could be potentially far more acute and biting.

The bulk of Trump's tariffs on Chinese goods have been applied to industrial goods that are more or less invisible to American consumers because the price is filtered down from importers, to manufacturers and on to retailers before Americans finally see it. And there's no label that makes it explicit how much prices have increased because of Trump's invisible taxes on consumers.

Tariffs on agricultural and other consumers goods from Europe are another story. These tariffs will be immediately visible especially if they really are as high as 100 percent. People will notice when their favorite Irish whiskey or Gouda cheese doubles in price.

When Europe finally responds to Trump's tariffs with their own retaliatory tariffs, we'll be off to the races.

  • muselet

    The Trump administration is out to punish the EU for appealing—as it is allowed to do under WTO rules—the ruling on tariffs.

    Let me repeat that: the EU was entitled to appeal the WTO’s decision in the Airbus case.

    And wouldn’t you know, the administration is pulling this unjustifiable crap (100% tariffs for exercising a right accorded by WTO regulations?) right after kneecapping the WTO’s Appellate Body. I believe in coincidences, but that’s not one.

    –alopecia

  • gescove

    Another day, more “What in the fresh hell?!” news from the Trump WH.