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EU prepares major tariff retaliation against Trump

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The European Union is readying retaliatory tariffs on around $20
billion worth of US goods coming into the bloc should talks
between the two parties this week fail.


Speaking to Swedish newspaper 

Dagens
Nyheter,
the EU’s 

trade commissioner,
Cecilia Malmstrom, warned that while the EU wants to reach a
settlement with the US, it will not shy away from hitting back at
the punitive tariffs placed on certain exports by the Trump
administration.

The retaliation would impact around $20 billion of goods,
Malmstrom said, adding that the tariffs would not be levied
against consumer goods.

“We hope that it doesn’t come to that and that we can a
solution. If not, the EU Commission is preparing a rather long
list of many of American goods. It would be around $20 billion,”
she told Dagens Nyheter.

“No, now it’s more general goods such as agricultural
products, machinery, high-tech products and other things,” she
said, when asked if the EU would target specific US
states.

Malmstrom’s comments come as European Commission president,
Jean Claude Juncker,
travels to Washington for talks with the Trump administration
aimed at diffusing the tensions between the two parties
over
Trump’s trade war. Juncker’s main aim, it is believed, is to
persuade Trump not to levy punitive tariffs on European
automobiles. 

The US Commerce Department is investigating auto imports,
and Trump has previously threatened large tariffs on imported
cars. Last week, for instance, Trump
said he was ready to impose a “tremendous retribution” against
the EU
.

Juncker and Trump’s summit comes as Trump pushes his trade
war more aggressively than ever before.
After threatening last Friday to place tariffs on all $505
billion of goods imported to the US from China
, he tweeted on
Tuesday to say that tariffs are “the greatest!”

“Tariffs are the greatest! Either a country which has
treated the United States unfairly on Trade negotiates a fair
deal, or it gets hit with Tariffs. It’s as simple as that — and
everybody’s talking! Remember, we are the “piggy bank” that’s
being robbed. All will be Great!” — he tweeted.

Several hours later, however, he appeared to strike a
slightly more conciliatory tone when tweeting about Juncker’s
upcoming visit. 

“The European Union is coming to Washington tomorrow to
negotiate a deal on Trade. I have an idea for them. Both the U.S.
and the E.U. drop all Tariffs, Barriers and Subsidies! That would
finally be called Free Market and Fair Trade! Hope they do it, we
are ready – but they won’t!”

Malmstrom, however, said she does not believe Trump and
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s offer to completely remove
trade barriers are serious, according to Reuters. Such an offer,
she said, would be hindered by the USA’s strict l
aws
protecting American industries.

She then pointed to what happened during negotiations of
the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership
(TTIP) in recent years.

“We tried earlier in TTIP negotiations to make the United
States loosen those laws. It was completely impossible. They did
not move a millimetre,” she said.

“Basically, I’m an optimistic person, but heading into this
I’m moderately optimistic. But one must always
try,” Malmstrom, who is a member of the EU delegation
heading to Washington, concluded.

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