EU reacts as US fires first shot in global ‘trade war'

June 22nd, 2018 8:44 AM

By Southern Star Team

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THE EU Commission endorsed a decision to impose additional duties on a list of US products on June 6th as part of the Union’s response to US President Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminium imports. 

DG TRADE officials expect to complete the relevant procedures by the end of June, so the new duties can start applying in July. 

As the global ‘trade war’ look set to escalate, the EU’s executive released a 19-page list of products to which a 25% tariff will be applied, including a range of agricultural products such as maize, types of rice, sweetcorn, certain juices (orange-cranberry), peanut butter, Bourbon whiskey and tobacco goods. Tariffs are also planned for various industrial products, clothes and footwear. 

The Commission said the list was in line with WTO rules and corresponded to the €6.4 billion value of EU exports to the US affected by the punitive duties. The move came a couple of days before the G7 Summit of advanced industrialised nations in the small town of Charlevoix (Quebec) and the crucial meeting in Singapore between Trump and his bitter foe Kim Jong-un of North Korea. 

At the end of the tense two-day meeting, where Trump clashed with his closest allies, the US leader fired off a number of tweets on June 11th, venting anger on NATO allies, the EU and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. ‘Fair trade is now to be called fool trade if it is not reciprocal,’ Trump tweeted, adding that ‘we cannot let our friends, or enemies, take advantage of us on trade anymore … we must put the American worker first.’ Global tensions look set to continue over the coming months, with fears growing that Washington will slap further punitive tariffs on EU agricultural and industrial goods in retaliation. 

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