EU Aims to Solve Trade 'Mess,' Not Provoke US: Commissioner

Lester Mason
March 15, 2018

European Council President Donald Tusk on Wednesday urged U.S. President Donald Trump to restart EU-U.S. trade talks in order to bring down trade barriers on both sides rather than risking a trade war. China is Boeing's second-largest market behind the United States.

It was a reminder that, with Trump, it always comes down to the art of the deal. Recently, GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan and the Republican establishment firmly opposed Trump's tariffs.

That's a useful lesson for our friends and foes alike. And they have been doing so for years and years with impunity. In World War II, domestic steel producers had to increase production over 200% to meet military demands. That is theft, and it can not stand.

Trump, however, has continued to defy protests both from overseas and within his own Republican Party, tweeting Wednesday, "We can not keep a blind eye to the rampant unfair trade practices against our Country!" That's what kept most of Africa and South America poor. We are being played as suckers.

Tariff opponents argue that US military needs for steel and aluminum amount to only 3% of domestic production. But he gave more than 700 exemptions on steel products and countries because the USA didn't - and still doesn't - produce enough steel to meet its needs.

This morning, analysts at Vertical Group announced they're downgrading shares of U.S. Steel.

Trump wants to exploit that American advantage. You get the deal if you know the right people.

With fewer adherents of mainstream trade policy advising the president, economic nationalists such as Peter Navarro, a White House economist and fierce critic of China, have encouraged the president to follow his tariff-raising instincts.

"Make trade, not war, Mr President, " Tusk said in comments posted on Twitter.

However, if the U.S. wants to have a trade war with China, China will need to stand firm on principle and retaliate against the US.

The largest sources for the material are Japan and Brazil, she said, adding that US tire producers will lose business to foreign competitors if their steel costs rise. The real problem with the tariffs is that they are a haphazard gesture addressing systemic policy failures that have devastated American workers for decades. You might call this the "weaponization" of trade, but it is created to put the interests of American companies and workers first. They're going to have to compete in a global market now. Any tit-for-tat retaliation will hurt them far more than us.

Marty Warren, USW director for Ontario and Atlantic Canada, was even more explicit, providing a stamp of approval to Trump's reactionary resort to national security considerations to launch an investigation into imported steel. Who loses more here?

China reported its 2017 US trade surplus as $276 billion, also about two thirds of its reported global surplus of $422.5 billion. Those are way overdone, but Trump was characteristically wrong when he pronounced trade wars "good, and easy to win". Hopefully not, but it could happen, to everyone's detriment, if other nations don't stand down. Big U.S. businesses have become reliant on overseas customers, from Apple, which gets 63 percent of its revenue from outside the United States, to Zoetis, an animal-health company that gets just over half from abroad. These gains have been enormous for everyone: The expansion of global trade from 1980 to 2005 launched the greatest period of poverty reduction in world history, with a billion people moved out of abject poverty.

Whether these concessions from Beijing are enough to reduce Sino-US trade tensions is yet to be seen.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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