European Union slaps $3.4 billion in reprisal tariffs on US goods

US President Donald Trump speaks with the press | Mandel Ngan  AFP via Getty Images

US President Donald Trump speaks with the press | Mandel Ngan AFP via Getty Images

The EU put some 180 types of products on its tariffs list, from agricultural products like orange and cranberry juice to steel and aluminium items to manufactured goods, such as makeup, clothes, and boats.

"The US is abusing the tariff methods and starting trade wars all around the world".

John Murphy, a senior vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, estimates that $75 billion in U.S. products will be subject to new foreign tariffs by the end of the first week of July.

And the highest-stakes fight still looms: In two weeks, the United States is to start taxing $34 billion in Chinese goods. "Needless to say, it is in full respect of EU and [World Trade Organization] rules", said European Commission spokesperson Alexander Winterstein. Trump on Monday evening ordered up identification of $200 billion in Chinese imports for additional tariffs of 10 per cent - with another $200 billion after that if Beijing retaliates.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who has said the bloc would target "Harley-Davidson, bourbon and Levi's jeans", said on Thursday the United States decision "goes against all logic and history".

Speaking in Ireland, he said: "The trade that we believe in is built on rules, trust and reliable partnership".

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"We did not want to be in this position", EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said in a statement, adding that the "unilateral and unjustified" USA decision had left the EU with no choice.

Those personally in the line of fire are among the most concerned.

U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to impose a 20 per cent tariff on all European Union-assembled cars coming into the United States, a month after the administration launched an investigation into whether auto imports pose a national security threat. "How they'll take it, we'll have to wait and see".

Trump ran for the presidency on a vow to topple seven decades of American policy that had favored ever-freer trade among nations. Cohn contradicts Trump on trade Cohn contradicts Trump on trade deficits The Hill's Morning Report - Can the economy help Republicans buck political history in 2018? The big trade conflagration, however, is with China.

President Trump said the measures against the EU are meant to protect USA national security interests, but the Europeans claim it can not be that close allies, many of them North Atlantic Treaty Organisation partners, would endanger US security.

In trade wars, there tend to many casualties and few winners.

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