The European Union (EU) is preparing punitive tariffs on iconic US brands produced in key Republican constituencies, raising political pressure on President Donald Trump to ditch his plans for taxing steel and aluminium imports.
Targetting 2.8 billion euros ($3.5 billion) of American goods, the EU aims to apply a 25 per cent tit-for-tat levy on a range of consumer, agricultural and steel products imported from the US if Trump follows through on his tariff threat, according to a list drawn up by the European Commission and obtained by Bloomberg News. The list of targeted US goods — including motorcycles, jeans and bourbon whiskey — sends a political message to Washington about the potential domestic economic costs of making good on the president’s threat.
Paul Ryan, Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, comes from the same state — Wisconsin — where motorbike maker Harley-Davidson is based. Earlier this week, Ryan said he was “extremely worried about the consequences of a trade war” and urged Trump to drop his tariff proposal.
The EU’s retaliatory list targets imports from the US of shirts, jeans, cosmetics, other consumer goods, motorbikes and pleasure boats worth around 1 billion euros; orange juice, bourbon whiskey, corn and other agricultural products totalling ^951 million; and steel and other industrial products valued at 854 million euros. The Brussels-based commission, the EU’s executive arm, discussed the retaliatory measures with representatives of the bloc’s governments at a meeting on Monday evening.