Top U.S. business group assails Trump's handling of trade dispute

Andrew Cummings
July 3, 2018

Trump had already threatened tariffs on cars imported from the European Union, in response to the EU's retaliatory tariffs last week on iconic us products including bourbon, jeans and motorcycles.

China, India, Canada, Mexico, Norway, the European Union and Russian Federation have all filed complaints, arguing the us duties are inconsistent with provisions of the WTO's General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 and the Agreement on Safeguards. With data from the U.S. Department of Commerce and government agencies in the countries hit by the new tariffs, the chamber hopes to show the president that his trade war will hurt Americans-particularly those in states historically loyal to Trump.

Last week, European Council President Donald Tusk warned that Trump's policies are harming trans-Atlantic relations and that "we must be ready to prepare our Union for worst-case scenarios". "Second, a potential deal to let Chinese telecom company ZTE buy US tech equipment may ease tensions somewhat over a potential ban on such sales".

Meanwhile, Canada retaliated against United States steel and aluminum tariffs by imposing retaliatory duties on US$12.6 billion in American goods starting Sunday.

China is expected to impose a new 25-percent tax on soybeans in July.

President Trump has long threatened to place tariffs on China, arguing that the country steals the intellectual property of tech companies in the US and as a result should be punished.

According to the organization, half of all US manufacturing jobs depend on exports, and 1 in 3 acres on USA farms produce crops for the global market.

Mr. Trump's administration wants Germany - which would be hardest hit by automotive tariffs - to pressure the European Union to come to an agreement.

The EU has warned Washington that a threat to slap Europe with major auto tariffs could inflict serious damage to the U.S. economy and would prompt strong retaliation. But he lifted the exemptions the same week he met with Group of Seven leaders in Quebec last month.

While it says that it sources circuit boards from USA suppliers wherever possible, "paying up to 30% over the price of the same circuit boards made overseas", the majority of the raw components still come from China and it will be unable to avoid the cost increase.

Trump railed against his trading partners during the meeting, according to sources, and withdrew his support for a joint communique after leaving the summit, angering and bewildering some of Washington's closest allies.

A year ago the European Union exported $43.6 billion worth of cars to the United States. Trump slammed the company's move, saying it was tantamount to surrender, and threatened punitive taxes.

The documents submitted to the Commerce Department also said that tariffs on cars and vehicle parts could undermine auto production in the United States by creating higher costs for US manufacturers. The Trump administration is also identifying an additional $200 billion in Chinese goods for 10 percent tariffs, which could take effect if Beijing retaliates.

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