The american president makes a statement on the taxes imposed on the imports of steel and aluminum in the United States, on march 1, 2018 at the White House, Washington, d.c. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN. AFP)
Donald Trump is mounted another notch in its free trade war on Friday, threatening the commercial partners of the United States of “taxes reciprocal” on their imports, after having referred to the day before those of steel and aluminum, incurring the wrath of international.
“When a countries tax our goods to, say, 50%, and we price to ZERO for the same product that enters our country, it is neither fair, nor intelligent,” said the american president in a tweet.
“We will soon impose TAXES RECIPROCAL so that we can impose the same thing that they impose on us. With a trade deficit of $ 800 billion, we have no choice,” he said.
He had already said in a tweet preceding the trade wars were “good and easy-to-win”.
This rhetoric of protectionism, adding to his proclamation the previous day that he would sign as soon as “next week” of the customs tariffs of 25% on imports of steel and 10% aluminum.
Friday, a top official of the american administration has clarified that no country would be exempted by the customs duties. There will be, however, an “exemption process” for the special cases that may arise, he explained.
The us decision could thus affect mainly countries considered to be traditional allies, such as Canada, the european Union, Brazil, and South Korea.
The imminence of these measures has sparked the irritation of most trading partners of the United States to begin by the european Union (EU), which intends to react “firmly and proportionately” to defend its interests.
The EU is preparing counter-measures on us products: Harley-Davidson, the bourbon (american whiskey) and the jeans of Levi s. “We won’t stand idly by when the industry and european jobs will be threatened,” warned Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the european Commission.
– ‘Losers’ –
The French minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire has warned that a trade war “will only be losers” while the world trade Organization (WTO), to mediate trade disputes, is “clearly concerned” stating also that”a trade war would not be in the interest of anyone”.
On the side of Canada, the first trade partner of Washington, the minister of international Trade, François-Philippe Champagne has warned that any possible customs tax imposed by the United States would be “unacceptable”.
World’s largest steel producer, even if it sells very little in the United States, its second-largest trading partner, China has, however, failed to evoke this time of retaliation, simply call on the United States to “curb their use of protectionist measures”.
Toyota (T:7203) does not exclude, however, a considerable increase “in the prices of cars and trucks sold in America”, if the japanese manufacturer is no longer in a position to import of cheap steel.
On Thursday, Donald Trump, meeting with u.s. industrial sector of steel and aluminium, had urged them to rebuild their industries by taking advantage of the protection offered by these taxes.
– The IMF is afraid of the ‘damage’ –
“The import restrictions announced by the american president are of a nature to cause damage not only outside the Usa but still the american economy itself, including its manufacturing and construction that are heavy users of aluminum and steel,” responded the international monetary Fund.
The IMF has urged the United States and its trading partners to resolve their business disputes in a peaceful manner.
Earlier, the vice-president of the european Commission, Jyrki Katainen, had played the card of appeasement, citing a “small window of opportunity open” for as long as Mr. Trump did not put his threats into execution.
The manufacturer of household appliances, Swedish Electrolux has, for its part, announced Friday the suspension of its investments in the United States.
The surprise announcement of the american president, who had until April to decide, has cast a chill on certain stock markets of the planet.
Wall Street posted slight decline of 0.14% little before 21: 00 GMT after having already abandoned 1,72% the day before. But Tokyo has heavily dropped from 2.50% at the end of Friday, Hong Kong and the stock Exchanges of mainland China, accusing it also on the up, while all the european markets finished sharply lower.
The United States are the largest importers of steel in the world. Their main suppliers are Canada (16%), Brazil (13%) and South Korea (10%), far ahead of China, which account for less than 2% of total imports.