Trump Increases Tariffs During a Pandemic

Written by SK Ashby

The coronavirus pandemic is grinding the global economy to a halt and the virus now occupies the attention of nearly every business and government, but Trump is moving ahead with higher tariffs on aircraft imported from Europe.

Despite pleas to give it a rest at a time like this, Trump increased tariffs on European aircraft from 10 to 15 percent.

Several EU officials said they had no indication that Washington would delay the tariff increase, despite calls by the Group of Seven rich nations for cooperation to battle the coronavirus outbreak that has devastated the global economy.

Airbus spokesman Clay McConnell in Washington also said there was no sign of a reprieve. He urged the U.S. government to work out an agreement with the EU and end a dispute over aircraft subsidies that dates back over 15 years. [...]

The tariff increase will not be paid by Airbus, but by U.S. airlines that have been hammered as the virus outbreak has dried up bookings and the Trump administration imposed travel bans from China and Europe.

According to multiple reports, the tariffs did increase last night at 12:01 a.m. eastern time as planned and any American-based airline that used Airbus planes or parts just saw their costs go up yet again.

As the Airbus spokesman points out, this case dates all the way back to the Bush administration and neither the Bush or Obama admins escalated it to the level of imposing punitive tariffs as Trump has. They understood that no one wins a trade war and while neither of them faced a global pandemic, it feels safe to say that neither of them would have increased tariffs during a pandemic.

The next president will have to make ending Trump's global trade war a priority as it will be essential to economic recovery.