Europe has warned Donald Trump to expect retaliatory strikes against American icons like Harley-Davidson, Levi’s jeans and Kentucky bourbon, if he sparks a trade war by going ahead with punitive US tariffs on foreign steel.
The European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, warned there would be consequences for the US if Trump’s threat of a 25% tariff on steel and 10% on aluminium imports takes effect.
“If the Americans impose tariffs on steel and aluminium, then we must treat American products the same way,” Juncker told German television stations.
“We must show that we can also take measures. This cannot be a unilateral transatlantic action by the Americans,” he said. “I’m not saying we have to shoot back, but we must take action.
“We will put tariffs on Harley-Davidson, on bourbon and on blue jeans – Levi’s,” he added.
His warning came as the International Monetary Fund said that Donald Trump’s plan would cause international damage – and also harm America’s own economy.
“The import restrictions announced by the US President are likely to cause damage not only outside the US, but also to the US economy itself, including to its manufacturing and construction sectors, which are major users of aluminium and steel,” the IMF said.
Other world leaders also threatened retaliation. Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, said US tariffs would be “absolutely unacceptable” and China too expressed “grave concern” over the plans.
Meanwhile, the US president breezily asserted that “trade wars are good”.