The EU said Wednesday it would hit flagship US products including peanut butter, orange juice and bourbon whiskey with counter measures if US President Donald Trump goes ahead with threatened steel and aluminium tariffs.
The blow by Brussels came hours after Trump’s trade offensive brought the resignation of his top economic advisor Gary Cohn, an influential ex-Goldman Sachs banker who fiercely opposed the measures.
EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem said a full-on transatlantic trade war was “not in anybody’s interests” — a stark contrast from Trump, who last week declared trade wars were “good and easy to win”.
“A trade war has no winners,” Sweden’s Malmstroem told reporters after the European Commission, which handles trade matters for the bloc, discussed the tariffs.
“We should be very careful with that word… there are only losers in that, and that’s why we will respond in a proportionate and balanced way.”
The European Union is holding fire on its reprisals as Trump has yet to sign into effect his plan to set tariffs for what he calls unfair competition for US industry, but Malmstroem said a list of products had been drawn up including steel, industrial and agricultural items.
“Certain types of bourbon are on the list as are other items such as peanut butter, cranberries, orange juice,” Malmstroem said.
European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker on Friday threatened to hit big-name US brands such as Harley Davidson motorbikes and Levi’s jeans with import duties, prompting Trump to fire back a threat to tax cars from the EU.
Despite Juncker’s headline-grabbing threat to iconic US brands, the EU’s hitlist does not mention specific businesses.
– ‘Thousands of jobs’ –
Malmstroem said the EU was still trying to persuade Washington not to go ahead with the tariffs, which she said would threaten “thousands of European jobs”.
The EU is also looking at “safeguard” measures to protect its industry — restricting the bloc’s imports of steel and aluminium to stop foreign supplies flooding the European market, which is allowed under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.
Trump, elected on a promise to roll back the effects of globalisation on the US economy with an “America First” platform, said Thursday he planned to impose 25 percent tariffs on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminium.
Juncker, who on Wednesday met Lakshmi Mittal, the boss of the world’s top steelmaker ArcelorMittal, said last week the EU would “react firmly” to protect European industry.
Europe exports around five billion euros’ ($4 billion) worth of steel and a billion euros’ worth of aluminium to the US each year, and the commission estimates Trump’s tariffs could cost some 2.8 billion euros.
As well as making it harder for European metal to find buyers in the US, tariffs could also mean other foreign producers redirect their output to the EU, pushing the market there down.
Brussels wants to maximise the political impact of its reprisals on the US while minimising the impact of a trade war on European consumers.
European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen told AFP on Friday the bloc could form a “coalition of like-minded countries” to file a complaint at the WTO, though this procedure usually takes around two years.
Trump-voting evangelist drops the ‘blasphemy’ hammer on president for deifying himself
In a column for the Washington Post, an evangelical leader who admits he voted for Donald Trump in 2016 is very displeased that the president anointed himself the "chosen one" when speaking with the press on Wednesday.
According to Jay Lowder who heads up the Harvest Ministries in Wichita Falls, Texas, the president stepped over a line with his boast -- calling it "disturbing."
"Since President Trump’s election, many in the evangelical community have lauded him, grateful for his work to protect and propel some of the Christian values we hold so dear," before pointing out that a comparison to Jesus by man who "claims to be a Christian" is nothing less than " shocking, blasphemous and sacrilegious."
Couple who ran demon-obsessed gay ‘conversion therapy’ camp indicted on human trafficking charges
An Alabama couple who operated a controversial gay "conversion therapy" camp has been indicted on human trafficking charges in connection with a new religious facility they set up in Texas.
A grand jury indicted 49-year-old Gary Wiggins and 34-year-old Meghann Wiggins after investigators found they had forced children to work at their Joshua Home for troubled boys, reported KXAN-TV.
Burnet County officials raided the 10-acre property near Bertram in July 2018, where they removed eight boys between 10 and 17 years old as part of an investigation into possible abuse, neglect, labor violations, fraud, licensing violations and human trafficking.
Trump officials to face congressional grilling over president’s link to white nationalist terrorism
Next week, Democrats on the House Oversight Committee are poised to question members of the Trump administration about the dangerous rise in white nationalist violence.
Just last weekend, a man slaughtered dozens of people in El Paso, Texas, after citing an "invasion" on the Southwest border.
In addition to questioning senior national security officials about the rise in white nationalism violence, they also plan to ask them whether they think President Donald Trump is instigating violent acts with his rhetoric, reports Greg Sargent in the Washington Post.