Speed Reads

Trade Wars

Trump widely expected to hit EU with steel and aluminum tariffs by Friday

Barring an unlikely last-minute deal, President Trump will follow through with his threat to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum from the European Union by Friday, The Wall Street Journal and The Associated Press report. The imposition of 25 percent tariffs on imported steel and a 10 percent levy on aluminum will likely be met by swift retaliatory EU tariffs on motorcycles, bourbon, peanut butter, orange juice, and other exports from America, as well as further damage already raw U.S.-European relations. In late April, Trump delayed the tariffs on the EU, Canada, and Mexico until June 1 to allow space for trade negotiations, but his envoys are frustrated that the EU isn't offering concessions.

Trump cites national security as the rationale for his tariffs, and EU officials have said they will respond with levies against up to $3.3 billion in U.S. exports using a World Trade Organization (WTO) mechanism for inappropriate protectionism. And if the EU responds, Axios says, "that move would effectively give a green light for other WTO members to retaliate. Nobody wants to be considered a bad actor — but if the EU does it, they're considered a good global actor, so others are more likely to follow." Such a trade war would drive up costs for consumers. Trump isn't expected to impose the tariffs on Canada and Mexico Friday.