NSS translation and commentary
Below is our translation from the Russian of an article from EADaily. The possibility of adding tariffs to aluminium and steel products was raised back in January. The EU has now reiterated its intent to levy retaliatory tariffs in response. So higher prices in both the US and Europe will be the outcome. This is why most administrations have refrained from imposing tariffs as a means of offsetting non-competitively priced imports to the US.
FAZ: EU prepares for trade war with US
The European Union is preparing for a trade war with the United States. If the restrictions on steel imports and aluminium imposed by Washington on the import of steel and aluminium are also affected by European enterprises, the EU can, within a few days, introduce retaliatory duties on important products from the United States, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) reports with reference to sources in the European Commission.
At the same time, penalties can be imposed on the widest range of American products from orange juice to motorcycles and whiskey, the newspaper writes.
According to spokespersons for the publication, agricultural products from the United States, including potatoes and tomatoes, head the European Commission’s list. At the same time, Europeans want to strengthen the sensitivity of the retaliatory measures by the fact that the blow is supposed to be inflicted on goods of great importance for the constituencies of the closest supporters of US President Donald Trump. This includes notably motorcycles, since the head office of Harley Davidson is in Wisconsin, home of House of Representatives speaker Paul Ryan. European Commission’s list also includes Bourbon whiskey, which is produced mainly in Tennessee and Kentucky - in the homeland of Trump adviser Mitch McConnell, the Republican majority leader in the Senate.
As the FAZ notes, the European Commission took as a basis the list of goods that was drawn up during the last major trade conflict with the US under President George W. Bush, but updated it. The fact that the EU, in response to possible penalties on steel and aluminium, will react with higher duties on goods from completely different sectors of the economy, does not contradict the norms of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
At the end of last week, US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross proposed to introduce large-scale protectionist duties on the supply of aluminium and steel from 14 countries to protect "US national security".
Ross proposed three different options: to increase the import duty to at least 24% for all countries, or increase the tariff to at least 53% for imports from 12 countries - Russia, China, Brazil, Costa Rica, Egypt, India, Malaysia, South Korea, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam. As a third option, it is proposed to introduce "quotas on all products from all countries equal to 63% of their exports in 2017".
Read more: https://eadaily.com/en/news/2018/02/20/faz-evrosoyuz-gotovitsya-k-torgovoy-voyne-s-ssha