Nations around the world are starting to react to the promise of more tariffs from the United States, and they’re not happy.
In response to the new U.S. tariffs, the European Union has threatened to add tariffs of its own to imports of products, including bourbon, blue jeans and motorcycles from the United States. Jean-Claude Juckner, president of the European Commission, said that the E.U. “will react firmly and commensurately to defend our interests.”
France’s finance minister, Bruno Le Mair, told reporters “The United States needs to know that if it goes ahead with these measures, they will meet with a strong, coordinated and united response from the European Union.”
Canada and the European Union are the top suppliers of steel to the United States, each supplying more than four times the amount that China does, according to the BBC. Canada is also one of the top exporters of aluminum to the U.S.
Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, called the new tariffs “absolutely unacceptable.” Trudeau warned that “any disruption to the integrated market would be significant and serious.” It is not yet clear if and how the tariffs would apply to Canada or Mexico.
Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo met with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Wednesday. A source involved on the Mexican side of the negotiations said that unless Mexico was exempt from the steep duties, “Mexico will have no other option than to react,” according to the Financial Times.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has accused President Donald Trump of trying to start a trade war, which, she said, “can’t be in anyone’s interest.”
The vice secretary of the China Iron and Steel Association, Li Xinchuang, called the tariffs “an extremely stupid move.” China is the 11th biggest exporter of steel to the United States.
“China does not want to see a trade war with the United States. But if Trump insists, China is not afraid of it,” former Chinese vice commerce minister Wei Jianguo said ominously.
Meanwhile, leaders in the United Kingdom, still in the process of hammering out the details in how post-Brexit trade deals would work, have asked Prime Minister Theresa May to figure out how these tariffs will affect their nation.
For his part, Trump seemed unfazed by the threats of economic retaliation against the United States. Early Friday morning, he tweeted, “When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win. Example, when we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don’t trade anymore-we win big. It’s easy!”