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European Commission to unveil $20 billion tariff target list of US products


European Commission to unveil $20 billion tariff target list of US products

european commission us tariff list
european commission us tariff list
Photo: Virginia Mayo/AP

The European Commission will today unveil a list of $20 billion worth of US products that could be targeted by tariffs, a response to a similar target list published by the US Trade Representative last week.

The tit-for-tat threats mark an escalation in transatlantic trade tensions. While this particular dispute stems from a row over aircraft subsidies, it’s also part of broader protectionist tug-of-war.

Washington imposed tariffs on steel and aluminium imports last June, hitting European manufacturers. The EU struck back with tariffs on $3 billion of American imports. The Trump administration is currently considering whether to impose tariffs on Europe’s auto industry—an alarming prospect, particularly for German automakers.

The spectre of a deeper EU-US trade war is concerning. The two economies account for a third of the global economy and almost a third of world trade. An intensified transatlantic trade row would add to global economic headwinds, which already include US-China trade tensions and Brexit.

However, this appears unlikely to materialise. On Monday, Europe’s trade chief suggested Brussels was ready to begin negotiations on a deal to wind back some tariffs before October 31.

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To be sure, hurdles remain. For one, Washington insists that market access for US agricultural products be part of trade talks, something Ms Malmstrom says is “a red line for Europe”. But for a US president nearing a re-election campaign, a trade deal will prove an attractive prospect.

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