US tariffs: no regard for the losses?

The US has now imposed tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from the EU, Mexico and Canada. Several of the countries affected by the measure have already made it clear that they plan to take concerted action against the measures. In Canada too, journalists are calling for a tough stance against Trump. But one European country is particularly concerned about the situation.

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Toronto Star (CA) /

Canada must not convey weakness

The government in Ottawa has no choice but to react with reprisals, the Toronto Star writes:

“Canada resisted rising to the bait when the tariff threat was first invoked, and managed to kick the can down the road. But now that the measures are real, the Trudeau government can hardly avoid replying with dollar-for-dollar tariffs of its own on an array of American goods. It's a self-destructive cycle that will hurt businesses and consumers on both sides of the border. But failing to respond would send out a message of weakness, and faced with a bully like Trump that will just invite more attacks.”

RTE News (IE) /

Trade war would hit Ireland hard

Ireland is in danger of being crushed by a trade war, columnist Sean Whelan warns on the website RTE News:

“For a country that lives or dies by international trade, and which is integrated into global supply chains to an extent that very few countries are, Ireland stands to be squeezed in a trade war between its two most important economic partners, the EU and US. There is no question about it - a trade war is bad for us. ... It is also bad for the cohesiveness of the global trading system on which we have bet the national farm. As well as the western political and economic system, in which Ireland is firmly ensconced.”

Financial Times (GB) /

Prove Trump wrong by retaliating

Traditional US allies like the EU, Mexico and Canada must hit back in the trade dispute with the Trump administration, the Financial Times demands:

“Yes, this creates the risk of a tit-for-tat round of tariff increases. Yet, if there were no retaliation, Mr Trump might merely demand more. Retaliation should be sober and co-ordinated. It should seek to mobilise US business interests against US trade policies. ... Yet, in his inaugural address, President Trump said: 'Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.' On trade at least, he must be taken seriously and literally. US allies must realise this - and dare to prove he is wrong.”

Pravda (SK) /

Dangerously short-sighted

Pravda warns of the impact of a trade war:

“Of course a trade war between the EU and the US will have economic consequences - but the political repercussions are even more serious. The transatlantic rift is growing, and contrary to what Trump says this could lead to a real security threat for everyone. ... What's more, his strategy has another major weakness. Even the mercantilists knew that tariffs are only useful when they're imposed on end products. In protecting the US steel industry, however, Trump is harming those US sectors for which steel and aluminium are just raw materials. For example the carmakers, who employ far more workers than the steel companies.”

Ria Nowosti (RU) /

New chapter in the history of the global economy

This is the beginning of the end of globalisation, Ria Novosti believes:

“The nationally-oriented Trump administration is taking systematic steps. Unlike the previous administration, it wants to act in the interests of the national economy and not in the interests of the 'globalised' finance elite, which is radically changing the world at the expense not only of people outside the US, but also of the American people. ... These protectionist measures will survive President Trump; they're here for the long run, if not forever. ... This is the new world in which we will have to live. And in it, all the arguments about the 'laws of the global market', the 'integration of the local economy into the international division of labour' and other well-meant idiocies are meaningless in this world.”

The Times (GB) /

Americans save too little

Donald Trump has failed to understand the real causes of the US's problems, The Times writes:

“He explicitly believes that the wide US trade deficit is due to 'unfair' trading practices by other countries. The truth is very different. It is simply that Americans don't save much. Almost the entire weight of the economics profession could explain to Mr Trump that his policies are based on a simple arithmetical misunderstanding of the balance of savings and investment. Because the US has more investment opportunities than can be filled with domestic savings, it has to import capital from abroad.”

taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

Germany could meet Trump halfway

The taz agrees with Trump that Germany's trade surplus is a problem and proposes a remedy:

“In the long term the goal is not necessarily to reduce exports. One could increase imports instead. That could be done through higher wages, more investment and more generous social security that goes beyond [Germany's current system] Hartz IV. Stronger domestic consumption would boost the demand for foreign goods. In the short term, it would be wise for the EU Commission and the German government to make the Trump administration a reasonable offer. Fixing an export limit wouldn't be the devil's work. Yes, a good few German businesses would have to renounce certain revenues, but bearing in mind the healthy state of the economy such a concession wouldn't kill them.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

Concern driving the EU to react harshly

De Volkskrant explains why the EU is reacting so harshly to the tariffs imposed by Trump:

“The losses for the companies affected will be hard, but neither the EU nor the US economy will be destabilised. The EU is reacting so harshly because it fears that this may just be the start. Trump has already said that he wants to see fewer Mercedes Benz cars on the streets of Washington and New York, even if they are produced in the US by US workers. Moreover, Brussels is deeply concerned that the US, formerly such a loyal friend, trade partner and military ally, will now start treating the EU like a hostile power. Negotiations on a new trade relationship with the US won't begin before the US steel tariffs are scrapped.”