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8 March, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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EU warns Trump on trade war, eyes peanut butter and whiskey tariffs

AFP

AFP, BRUSSELS: The EU's top official yesterday warned US President Donald Trump against starting a trade war, as the bloc prepared to retaliate against Washington's threatened steel and aluminium tariffs with duties on peanut butter, orange juice and bourbon whiskey.

European Union President Donald Tusk said "trade wars are bad and easy to lose", directly rebuffing Trump's claim last week they were "good and easy to win".

Tusk's tough words came after the EU unveiled a raft of counter measures that will hit a huge range of flagship US exports -- from jeans to motorbikes to cranberries -- with duties if Trump acts on his threat to impose heavy tariffs on steel and aluminium.

"President Trump has recently said and I quote, 'trade wars are good and easy to win,'" Tusk told a press conference in Luxembourg.

"But the truth is quite the opposite: Trade wars are bad and easy to lose."

Warning Trump's plans could lead to "a serious trade dispute" between Washington and the rest of the world, Tusk said EU leaders would hold an emergency debate on the issue at a summit in Brussels on March 22-23.

EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem said a full-on transatlantic trade war was "not in anybody's interests".

"A trade war has no winners," Sweden's Malmstroem told reporters after the European Commission, which handles trade matters for the bloc, discussed the tariffs.

"We should be very careful with that word... there are only losers in that, and that's why we will respond in a proportionate and balanced way."

The European Union is holding fire on its reprisals as Trump has yet to sign into effect his plan to set tariffs for what he calls unfair competition for US industry, but Malmstroem said a list of products had been drawn up including steel, industrial and agricultural items.

"Certain types of bourbon are on the list as are other items such as peanut butter, cranberries, orange juice," Malmstroem said.

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker on Friday threatened to hit big-name US brands such as Harley Davidson motorbikes and Levi's jeans with import duties, prompting Trump to fire back a threat to tax cars from the EU.

Despite Juncker's headline-grabbing threat to iconic US brands, the EU's hitlist, written in the dry language of customs regulations, does not mention specific businesses.

The list, obtained by AFP, includes "mens' or boys' trousers and breeches of cotton denim" and "motorcycles including mopeds" with engines of 500 cc capacity and above -- which includes most Harley Davidson models.

Sweetcorn, cranberry juice and peanut butter are all on the list along with cigarettes, cigars and playing cards.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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