EU introduce retaliatory tariffs on US goods

The tariffs include American products such as whiskey, tobacco, Harley Davidson motorcycles and peanut butter

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and US President Donald Trump (Photo: Getty Images)
European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and US President Donald Trump (Photo: Getty Images)

The European Union has introduced retaliatory tariffs on US goods as a top official launched a fresh attack on President Donald Trump’s trade policy.

The EU announced a 25 per cent tariff on American products such as whiskey, tobacco, Harley Davidson motorcycles and peanut butter on Friday. They leveraged another 50 per cent tax on select items such as footwear, some types of clothing, and washing machines, according to the BBC.

The duties on €2.8bn worth of US goods came into force on Friday.

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said duties imposed by the US on the EU go against "all logic and history".

The statement echoed the words of EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström, who said on Wednesday that the EU was “left with no other choice” than to impose retaliatory measures.

The tariffs come weeks after the Trump administration implemented a 25 per cent tariff on steel and 10 per cent tariff on aluminium, affecting trade partners like Canada, Mexico, and the EU. Donald Trump threatened additional taxes on European cars if the EU chose to retaliate.

Addressing the Irish parliament in Dublin, Juncker added that "we will do what we have to do to rebalance and safeguard" the EU.

The EU’s tariffs target products primarily made in Republican states, hoping to threaten Trump's party in the run-up to the November midterm elections. They come after a tense showdown at the G7 summit, where Trump refused to sign on to a joint communique with leaders of the world's most advanced economies.

The EU has filed a case with the World Trade Organisation (WTO), claiming the Trump administration’s tariffs were “pure protectionist” and “illegal”. They also threatened a second round of tariffs on some $4.3bn worth of US products if the dispute was not resolved.

Mexico has already announced its own tariffs on US goods, and Canada’s tariffs on nearly $13bn of US products are set to take effect next month.

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