UPDATE – 12-03-2018: The drums of trade war are beating stronger. US President Donald Trump is moving towards implementing a 25% tariff on steel imports and a 10% tariff on aluminum. Mexico, Canada and Australia will be offered exemptions from the tariffs (which are nominally aimed at China), but it is unclear whether Europe will qualify for a similar exemption.

The tariffs are deeply divisive even within the US administration, with Trump’s economic adviser, Gary Cohn, recently resigning over the policy. Critics warn that the move will push up the price of steel, hurting US manufacturers (such as in the automobile industry) that rely on steel inputs. That’s all before we factor in retaliatory tariffs from the European Union. So, what happens next? Will Trump really follow through on his proposed protectionist move? And, if he does, how should the EU respond?

ORIGINAL 26-05-2017: Donald Trump’s first trip abroad has ruffled a few feathers (as expected). Not only did he shove aside other leaders, but he also took aim at European trade practices, declaring that: “The Germans are bad, very bad.” According to reports, Donald Trump made his comments at a meeting with Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, and Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council. The focus of Trump’s criticism is apparently Germany’s healthy trade surplus with the US (and EU trade policy in general).

Germany has been exporting more than it imports to America for years, and Trump has already made this observation several times. Before taking office, he complained, for example, in an interview about the many German cars on New York’s streets. During his most recent visit to Brussels, the US president once again criticised the German car industry: “Look at the millions of cars they sell in the US. Terrible. We’ll stop that. ”

Could Trump make good on this threat? He’s already threatened several times that he would be willing to slap high tariffs (as much as 100%) on European products. One thing is certain: a trade war would have a drastic impact for both sides. EU-US trade accounts for approximately 30% of global trade. The US is the main trading partner of the European Union, with a total trading volume of €619 billion.

Is Trump preparing for a trade war with the EU? Could both sides afford such a war? What would be the consequences? And should the EU remain tough in any future trade negotiations with the US? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – The White House

91 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    Matej Zaggy Zagorc


    Also Trump: Sign 100 Billion dollar (some media speculate even higher- 110B and more) arms deal with people he accuses of terrorism on sight.

    Media: LOL Trump touches wall. Look at Trump and the orb! Lmao Melania pushed his hand away, this is important!

    • avatar
      Marko Martinović

      He did not say that. He was speaking against Islamic terrorism. Way to missrepresent and take things out of context

    • avatar
      Matej Zaggy Zagorc

      Oh, my mistake. I guess I also misinterpreted his idea to travel ban several Muslim countries for no other reason than being Muslim. Or do you want to correct me and say that those countries consist of nothing but terrorists and is therefor justified also by your statement.

    • avatar
      Rosy Forlenza

      Marko Martinović really? no he didn’t say it, but maybe actions speak louder than words, he is already saber rattling with north korea (or is that our imagination too) and no doubt expects europe to be dragged into more of its corporate wars, the sooner we shake off that parasitic corporate governed country the better.

      07/09/2017 David A. Andelman, columnist for USA Today and commentator for CNN Opinion, has responded to this comment.

      07/09/2017 Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban treaty Organization (CTBTO), has responded to this comment.

    • avatar

      The travel ban against muslims is logical if you look at the reality of the increasing islamic terrorist attacks in the middle east, north africa and now more and more against Western Nations like the Usa, UK, Belgium, Sweden, Germany, Spain, France etc.
      We cannot defeat islamic terror while allowing large numbers of the enemy culture to flow into our Nations, I wish we could point to a Nationality and say it’s Citizens of Country X but the issue is not that convenient, whether rich or poor educated or school drop out all of these terrorists have 1 thing in common THEY ARE MUSLIMS. They quote islamic texts from the quran and the biography of their false prophet muhammad to justify their actions. This is without a doubt a cultural problem of muslims/islam. The more we let in the more we expose our Western people to this backward 6th century minded islamist threat. Surely not every muslim is a terrorist but since those who are will never tell the immigration officer this at the border we have to use a broad brush to keep those out who are. There are over 1 billion Chinese we can surely work something out to bring in more of them if we need workers etc.
      And han Chinese don’t bring religious baggage with them. Our Freedom comes with a price and we have to be willing to do what is necessary to defend it including making life difficult for those who mean us harm. It’s time to for all known terrorists and terror suspects, supporters etc. to be removed off the streets and locked up indefinately. They should be given humane accomodations, proper food etc., but they should remaim locked up as long as is necessary, and they should be given the option of remaining locked up or permanently leaving the country inclusive of all rights to citizenship. We need to get tough. We need to faster and smarter than our enemies and we need to do things they never expected. WE NEED TO SHOCK THEM. SCARE THEM. AND MAKE THEM PAY A HEAVY PRICE.

    • avatar
      Pedro Castro

      From whom?

      There are 2 threats to europe. Russia and populism and trump stands for both!

    • avatar
      Rosy Forlenza

      well said, Pedro. at the end of the day, europe has a number of big NATO players, and if people bring out th enukes we are all screwed anyway, doesn’t matter how many we’ve got or they have got. can’t wait for the mediterranean u.s. basis to close down, the sooner the better.

    • avatar
      Marko Martinović

      Populism is listening to voice of the people. It is not a bad thing. It is a good thing. EU is sacrificing its own people for political correctness and is destroying what litle free speech we have left. People are being beaten, robed, raped and killed, and we should ignore it. EU needs to answer for breaking Shengen and putting all of us in danger for politics.

  2. avatar
    Alex Sekkpfb

    He can begin trade wars with all his suppliers all he wants, but there would only be one great loser in a trade war and I´m not pointing any fingers but it´s the US :))

  3. avatar
    Anton Georgiev

    Ahhaha america is drained… What trade war exactly are we talking here when america is broke as hell….

  4. avatar
    George Ferentinos

    Greeks do not mind!!They are already in war with their european partners!!!ups sorry! !!with their lenders!!!!

    • avatar
      Pedro Castro

      EU is voluntary. Feel free to leave if you think it’ll be a better option.

    • avatar
      George Ferentinos

      Sooner or later! The Great Britain showed the right way!!!anyway we have much more common relation ( orthodox christians) with the Great nation of Russia!!!

    • avatar
      Rosy Forlenza

      George Ferentinos I do sympathise George, and i think that Greece is not going to go away, a lot of your fellow eu citizens care deeply and are not happy with the way the eu has treated greece, we need to get it sorted, but don’t leave, you are a part of us.

    • avatar
      Celina Agostinho

      @Pedro Castro Don’t be an idiot! We should partner up with Greece and other nations that got f***** over with the Euro, not pander to our lenders.

  5. avatar
    catherine benning

    Is Trump preparing for a trade war with Europe?

    If the EU leaders suspect that is so, then they must ask themselves, why would he want to do that? And if he would do that, then so would the Clinton jester who, had she won, would have done the same. American policy does not change with a particular President, they only tell you it does. It takes years for a President to have an effect.

  6. avatar
    Azad Maruf

    That trade war is against their neighbours, China, Europe and any country found consumers enjoyed their good quality products….President Obama calculated the highly costs of the locally made products and the wanted descriptions suits their own consumers, to come out with that results….President Trump is hesitated now and the only solution left for him to follow is to pressuerize the European tradors to minimize their prices but not more….Look to their I.T. technologies , cars and vehicles and compare the qualities and prices to the imported ones to understand what he is about….

  7. avatar
    Enric Mestres Girbal

    Trump knows EU politics ara idiots and will follow his ideas, not only about trade but also about attaking Syria on his behalf.

  8. avatar
    Chris Pavlides

    Europeans consume key US brands daily. Drive American, Eat burgers or dummy food, wash with p&g jeans or teeth, listen to their music. Send emails, download, run business or generate wealth via US technology and soon we all be called to compete directly – with very high social cost – on their own football stadium called 4th industrial revolution. So dear your question is falling to gap… To them we are a given very predictable market.

  9. avatar
    Yiannos Phiniotis

    If Trump wants his country isolated he would start a war with the EU which is the richest market. But I don’t think he is as dumb as people think

  10. avatar
    Savas Ozyurt

    Trump IS already waging a Trade War with the EU. Now, that being said, why is Tusk and Juncker posing with this criminal in one picture? Have they no shame nor dignity? European Parliament, Council of the European Union, European Commission, you need to walk away from this thug. It is time for a world without the dependency on the USA. I hope you have contingency plans in case the USA goes rouge (and there’s high likelihood for that under this imbecile).

  11. avatar
    Tarquin Farquhar

    Lets hope so!

    USA + UK + Canada + Australia + NZ v EU ==> EU LOSE!

    • avatar

      Wow, scared of the orange perv clown

    • avatar

      Tim Nick Knight I’m Swedish and am all to familiar with the fact that iron and steel are one of our main exports and what pays for a lot of our costs: just the value of the export is 38 billion (Swedish Krona) and considering that the entire budget for Sweden is roughly 1000 billions (SK) that’s quite a lot of money.

      And that is without considering the taxes from companys, from workers and money from foreign investors.

      A dent in that flow of cash will hurt us…

  12. avatar
    Hr Tom

    please do so, so we can start producing the same things as we used to import from “over there” …it will create jobs, and probably also more stability….not to say that we finally can start a european culture project – without drowning in american pop-culture – so please, put 200% tax on US goods…lol

    • avatar

      Do you have any idea how many people would lose their jobs in EU Nation States if Brussels were to do as you suggest ?

    • avatar
      Hr Tom

      none – if handled correct

    • avatar

      Hr Tom You would end trade with the largest market on the planet and expect no job loses ? Germany alone has 2 million jobs reliant on the UK market so the figure would be far larger for the USA. It’s one way of killing the EU I suppose.

    • avatar

      largest marked on the planet is china, japan and south east asia – most countrys in europe have more import then export to and from the US – besides that we should learn to stand on our own feets, and not rely on the US as much as we do – there are several reasons for this, not only the issues ivd allready pointed out, but also because we shouldnt be puppies in their forgain affairs, or illigal wars, exploits, and scams. and also the import of their politics, laws, and state of sociaty. withs most europeans is not in favor of..

    • avatar

      Hr Tom Mosen So you would destroy millions of jobs in the EU just to follow your pro EU fantasy ? thank god we are leaving.

    • avatar
      Hr Tom

      millions of jobs…i think you over estimate our export to the US

    • avatar
      Hr Tom

      besides that…the US have some 53.000 billion in forgain dept – withs basically makes the doller worthless…but lets just keep paying their bills

    • avatar

      Hr Tom Mosen According to the unelected European Commission as of 2011 4.7 million jobs in the EU were dependent on exports to the US market. That figure is in all probably much higher now.

      Trade tariffs are bad for everyone which is why Trump is using the threat of them to open up markets to competition. The problem for Brussels is if they take away the EU’s closed shop customs union there is no point in any Nation being in the EU.

    • avatar
      Hr Tom

      Ivan Burrows the trade between member states is still the largest revenew gather in the EC, and would still be, even if the EC should split up into individual states. in regards to the 4.7 million jobs – thats around 0.1% of the combined population of the european union…

    • avatar

      So we should the fact that he said it himself?

  13. avatar

    Employment rate in the US is barely above 60% while in the EU the average employment rate is about 70%.

    Trump’s measures are protectionistic and make sense for the US as transitional measures to raise the employment level but they should not be in effect in the long term.

    The key issue is actually the disproportionate conditions of trade with China and that’s an issue that the EU should also address but avoids.

    • avatar

      Avoids because of the following list of reasons: – Germany

    • avatar

      The unemployment rate in USA is 4.1% ..half that of EU.
      The EU remains the largest protectionist trading block in the world.. ..imposing a range of tariffs to support it’s own agriculture and selective industries.

    • avatar

      Paul Vincent > I wrote specifically about *employment rate* for a reason, since people can lose the unemployed status and benefits for a variety of reasons without finding a job.

      When discussing economic phenomenon I think it’s always best to discuss “employment rate” rather than unemplyment.

  14. avatar

    While the EU operates a virtual closed shop trade cartel there is no reason to suppose Trump won’t do the same.

  15. avatar

    Strange that Brussels is complaining about tariffs with the USA while at the same time threatening the UK with tariffs. Tariff free trade or nothing is what Trump & the UK are saying and his threats will force the hand of trade blocks around the world.

    • avatar

      The UK voted to leave, not the other way around. Nobody’s threatening the UK with anything. Get your head out of your arse.

    • avatar

      Ivan Are you paying for the EU?😂
      A country that can hardly accept that their empirer is gone and their influence on the world stage is mutch diminished and who was called the Sick man of Europe before you joined the EU?

      Is that the one that’s keeping the EU together??!😂

    • avatar

      Brussels will.

  16. avatar

    He doesn’t know what is he doing . He doesn”t see forward.

  17. avatar

    I told you that Donnie’s working for the Greater Eurasian Project!!!

  18. avatar

    Well, Europe is already launching a trade war with it self so it’s not so big deal.

  19. avatar

    Let us focus on Europe! There is little…to nothing that America produces, that we can not produce ourselves. Let us forge new friendships ….and a new radical vision for the 21st century and beyond: Space and Life sciences. Let the Nationalists and the old world, destroy themselves.

  20. avatar

    If played right Europe could do much better, but it takes bravery. Time to heavily tax the Internet giants heavily, or better yet ok them like in China, so we can build our own.

  21. avatar

    Isnt it interesting. .when Trump applies tariffs, the EU disparages this as a ‘trade war’ . But is quite happy to threaten UK with numerous tariffs when it comes to brexit.

  22. avatar

    How high are the duties on american cars here in EU? .. and how high are the duties on European car in USA? .. if you know this, you know where the advantage is.If you don´t I can help.

  23. avatar

    USA Will loose big IF he do so. Us have no possible way of winning it. Alone The difference in population Alone speak to EU. I find it most likely that it Will be USA against most of The World. We should get to gather with China and India so Will USA do anything to put Trump out of business

  24. avatar

    Anti – Americanism is growing since America was lying about Iraq, was spying on us etc.
    For 2 decades the American relation is in decline, a trade war will be the end of American influence in Europe>

    Yankees Go home!

  25. avatar

    Of course he isn’t, he is starting one with the anti free trade EU though. 8|

  26. avatar

    Of course, a trade war is to pressurize submission of Europe while the US superpower status is declining rapidly. Both the 911 terrorist attack and the 2008 financial crisis marked the decline of a hegemonic power. A trade war means the US is unable to fight a great war alone. To prevent the outbreak of a third world war, Europe needs must stick to economic issue rather than NATO. I suppose this is the reason Macron is against the NATO because the global threat of war does not come from anywhere but US supporting by NATO.

  27. avatar

    Economic patriotism is not a bad idea. This doesn’t mean to close your country for foreign investment. For example economic patriotism is to have Mercedes, Audi, BMW factories in your country. Economic patriotism is to raise the salaries. Economic patriotism is build a welfare state for the nation. Economic patriotism is to lower the bill for water, electricity, Internet etc. Economic patriotism is to want foreign supermarkets to sell native production. Doesn’t sound bad, does it?

  28. avatar

    What should we do then? Applaud and embrace China for their globalist spreading of COVID-19? No more “made in PRC” for me. Enough casualties.

  29. avatar

    Globalisation is infected. It must be changed now. If not we will be doomed

  30. avatar

    It will happen if EU does not protect our economies

  31. avatar

    (…) define patriotism as “love for or devotion to one’s country” and nationalism in part as “loyalty and devotion to a nation.” But the definition of nationalism also includes “exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups.” This exclusionary aspect is not shared by patriotism.(…)

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