Following Canada’s steps, Europe has announced that they will respond to the U.S.’ recent trade tariffs with counter-tariffs. The decision was announced by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, alongside her disapproval of Donald Trump’s early departure from the G-7 summit and refusal to be part of a joint communique.
He announced these decisions on Twitter, stating “Just left the
@G7 Summit in beautiful Canada. Great meetings and relationships with the six Country Leaders especially since they know I cannot allow them to apply large Tariffs and strong barriers to U.S.A. Trade. They fully understand where I am coming from. After many decades, fair and reciprocal Trade will happen!”. He followed that tweet with a somewhat more defensive and confronting one, writing: “The United States will not allow other countries to impose massive Tariffs and Trade Barriers on its farmers, workers and companies. While sending their product into our country tax-free. We have put up with Trade Abuse for many decades — and that is long enough.”
Merkel responded to these tweets, and the way that they were delivered, with a tone of disappointment, calling them “depressing” and “sobering”. However, she managed to move on from the initial shock the statements must have had on her administration and stated that European countries will counter the U.S.’ procedures and won’t allow the abuse by the Trump administration to continue.
She remarked that this summit did not mark an end to the relationship between the U.S. and Europe, yet it highlighted the need for the latter to not rely upon its transatlantic partner moving forward. When asked whether she was concerned about Trump would respond to these counter-measures laying high tariffs on cars, she stated that they would try to avoid this procedure and that they would act in a similar manner if they were to be imposed.
The Chancellor was also asked about the possibility of Russia re-joining the G-7, which was proposed by Trump before arriving to the summit. He mentioned to reporters: “Russia should be in this meeting. Why are we having a meeting without Russia being in the meeting? And I would recommend — and it’s up to them, but Russia should be in the meeting, it should be a part of it.” The country was part of the alliance, formerly G-8, yet was thrown off in 2014 due to its conflict and military intervention in Ukraine. Merkel stated that said procedure could be a possibility, but it would require for Russia to create a peace agreement with its neighbor.
Merkel and Canada were not the first ones to act against Trump’s tariffs. Last week, Mexico announced that it is set to impose a substantive twenty percent tariff on U.S. pork, which could result in U.S. pork farmers losing over a hundred million dollars annually. The country is one of the most significant buyers for U.S. pork, yet they have compromised that position by raising the previous tariff with ten more percentile points. The new tariffs would not only affect the import of the country, but also its consumption of pork-related products since prices will rise.
This is yet another step forward in the ongoing U.S. ‘trade war’ with other G-7 members and China. U.S.’ tariff-based plan has been designed as a response to what the White House has described as unfair trade practices from the involved countries. The country had stated its decision of raising tariffs up to 25% for steel and 10% for aluminum to the E.U., Canada and Mexico, in concern of national security. The country’s G-7 allies stated that the U.S.’ decision “[undermines] open trade and confidence in the global economy.” It was quite uncommon that only one member of the Group is singled out for its policies and procedures, especially when it comes to the U.S.
Featured Image via Flickr/EU2017EE Estonian Presidency