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EU retaliatory tariffs begin tomorrow

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  • EU retaliatory tariffs begin tomorrow

    The European Commission has given up on negotiations with the Trump administration (not for lack of trying) --- and begins its first phase of retaliation against the US "punitive tariffs" this Friday. From tomorrow a list of US exports to the EU bloc will have its own "punitive tariffs" slapped on ( 25 % usually ), like Bourbon Whiskeys, cranberries, and motorcycles, orange juice, steel parts, peanuts or Levis jeans. The targets are carefully choosen according to their potential to inflict damage on constituencies of key Republicans and/or members of the Trump administration yet not so much the overall economy ( at least in this round). That means you are getting good deals on goods like Jack Daniels or Harley Davidson all over Europe right now. At least today.
    The european trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrm ( from Sweden) said that the EUs tariffs would always match those of the US, could be extended to other products if the administration chooses to widen its "trade war" on Europe ( as Trump has repeatedly said), but could also be abolished by mutual agreement ( along those of the US). Thus they are saying that a door remains open for talks.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/eu-to-b...day-1529499666


    A possible line of compromise has been presented by the chief lobbyists of the german car industry (one of Trumps favourite targets): VW, BMW, Daimler etc. are saying that they would support setting the EUs external car tariff ( currently 10 %) to zero IF the US does the same with its tariff on EU-made trucks, vans and SUVs ( 25 %). And IF the parties drop the threats-- and return to talking to each other and not about each other.
    To read the subtext : American carmakers (exception probably Tesla) are not considered to have much on offer that the german carmakers would regard as dangerous to their marketshare, especially not at home. Thus they believe they can make an offer that Trump could sell as a success (he can cherrypick the EU scrapping its tariff, if he wants) , even though it might not amount to much in reality (like in Europeans ditching Porsches or BMWS for american cars).
    Yet they have to win over also the French, that are pushing a more non-compromising line ( but also have to loose less on exports). And they have to assume that Trump is more interested in a compromise than in capitulation, in spite of his rethoric. The latter could be the case though, since the jobs that the Germans have created, especially in "red" states, directly and in supply industries, and their investions over the years are something that also local Republicans are not likely to be willing to sacrifice :


    https://jalopnik.com/german-automake...end-1826997044


    https://www.politico.eu/article/germ...10000-us-jobs/


    http://www.dw.com/en/are-german-cars...ugh/a-44149537




  • #2
    OF course ... they have suckled at that teet for so long, they have begun to think of it as a right. God forbid Trump should try to tilt it back in favor of America.

    ?


    • #3
      Originally posted by DavidSF View Post
      OF course ... they have suckled at that teet for so long, they have begun to think of it as a right. God forbid Trump should try to tilt it back in favor of America.


      Dont know much about....global trade ? Well, that is widespread these days regrettably.
      You are welcome to post one historical example where igniting a trade war, especially one on multiple fronts (and please dont play the victim) has positively impacted the overall economy (just one). Since that is the thing : You dont win. Noone ever has. It is possible that one side breaks down before the other ( that may claim victory) yet : In a trade war you dont shoot at an enemy, you shoot at an enemy AND yourself ( you do realize who pays the tariffs ?) And that is not even counted retaliatory action ( since obviously the attacked side has to top up, that is the inherent destructive logic of this kind of conflicts. That is why Trump has now come up with the idea of 200 billion additional tariffs on China ( which is madness by all rational measures), because the Chinese havent budged. And why he allegedly wants to ban german premium cars from the US. Nevermind that he might slash a share of Mercedes, BMWs and VWs profits, but mostly AMERICAN jobs ( at their US plants). Daimler has already issued a warning. BMW has stopped US hiring and investions until "achieving clarity".
      The strategy of "going in though", "hammering hard", incendiary language and wild threats included, in the hope to subsequently pocket concessions from an opponent knocked off base might work in a New York real estate squabble between property developers. Between nations, especially democracies that have their own politics to consider it is a recipe for desaster.
      The EU has again and again offered to settle any discussionworthy matters in negotiations. Yet Trump does not have the patience, the attention to details and probably also the time for negotiations. Since he has promised fast results, and not a few years down the road. And since he has promised to impose "America first", and not compromises, even if mutually beneficial. Right ?
      Yet trade wars have never led to prosperity or sustainable economics and they have rebalanced anything. Except by destroying ties completely.
      Today Harley Davidson had to announce that it will move some production out of the US, to avoid the EUs retaliatory tariffs. That is probably not according to plan :


      https://www.theguardian.com/business...-business-live


      By the way : The US trade deficit was always a matter of choice and of domestic policy, not of others somehow taking "advantage" of you. But foreign boogeymen are just too convenient to resist, right ?
      Problem is if you need them to buy your debt though :


      https://www.forbes.com/sites/timwors.../#74d8bba244f9
      Last edited by Voland; 06-25-2018, 10:21 AM.

      ?


      • #4
        Originally posted by Voland View Post



        Dont know much about....global trade ? Well, that is widespread these days regrettably.
        You are welcome to post one historical example where igniting a trade war, especially one on multiple fronts (and please dont play the victim) has positively impacted the overall economy (just one). Since that is the thing : You dont win. Noone ever has. It is possible that one side breaks down before the other ( that may claim victory) yet : In a trade war you dont shoot at an enemy, you shoot at an enemy AND yourself ( you do realize who pays the tariffs ?) And that is not even counted retaliatory action ( since obviously the attacked side has to top up, that is the inherent destructive logic of this kind of conflicts. That is why Trump has now come up with the idea of 200 billion additional tariffs on China ( which is madness by all rational measures), because the Chinese havent budged. And why he allegedly wants to ban german premium cars from the US. Nevermind that he might slash a share of Mercedes, BMWs and VWs profits, but mostly AMERICAN jobs ( at their US plants). Daimler has already issued a warning. BMW has stopped US hiring and investions until "achieving clarity".
        The strategy of "going in though", "hammering hard", incendiary language and wild threats included, in the hope to subsequently pocket concessions from an opponent knocked off base might work in a New York real estate squabble between property developers. Between nations, especially democracies that have their own politics to consider it is a recipe for desaster.
        The EU has again and again offered to settle any discussionworthy matters in negotiations. Yet Trump does not have the patience, the attention to details and probably also the time for negotiations. Since he has promised fast results, and not a few years down the road. And since he has promised to impose "America first", and not compromises, even if mutually beneficial. Right ?
        Yet trade wars have never led to prosperity or sustainable economics.
        Today Harley Davidson had to announce that it will move some production out of the US, to avoid the EUs retaliatory tariffs. That is probably not according to plan :


        https://www.theguardian.com/business...-business-live
        O.K., first, save the condescension for someone it impresses.

        Second, I understand that global trade has been tilted towards everyone else and away from America and what we have sacrificed to the end that everyone (except us) is happy are American jobs (more on American jobs in a moment) so, again, everyone else is all happy so long as America plays ball (on their field), but as soon as the President talks about tilting it back, Europe (principally) throws a tizzy that he's trying to start a trade war.

        Third, I don't see Trump starting a trade war (unless Europe over-reacts because, well, he IS Trump after all and we hate him, right?). I see him throwing down the challenge, focusing the conversation. As an international business man, I'm willing to accept Trump knows what he's doing. Why do you (Europe) get to call what you're doing "negotiations" but Trump doesn't?

        Now, getting back to the jobs we've lost, we have recently gotten news that unemployment is now at historic lows and we are also aware Trump has been incentivizing American employers to keep or create jobs here in America ... so maybe talk of correcting the trade imbalance isn't so important now.

        ?


        • #5
          Originally posted by DavidSF View Post

          O.K., first, save the condescension for someone it impresses.

          Second, I understand that global trade has been tilted towards everyone else and away from America and what we have sacrificed to the end that everyone (except us) is happy are American jobs (more on American jobs in a moment) so, again, everyone else is all happy so long as America plays ball (on their field), but as soon as the President talks about tilting it back, Europe (principally) throws a tizzy that he's trying to start a trade war.

          Third, I don't see Trump starting a trade war (unless Europe over-reacts because, well, he IS Trump after all and we hate him, right?). I see him throwing down the challenge, focusing the conversation. As an international business man, I'm willing to accept Trump knows what he's doing. Why do you (Europe) get to call what you're doing "negotiations" but Trump doesn't?

          Now, getting back to the jobs we've lost, we have recently gotten news that unemployment is now at historic lows and we are also aware Trump has been incentivizing American employers to keep or create jobs here in America ... so maybe talk of correcting the trade imbalance isn't so important now.
          It will be interesting to see how the Trump fares with this trade war. https://www.centralcharts.com/en/new...erican-farmers

          ?


          • #6
            Originally posted by DavidSF View Post

            O.K., first, save the condescension for someone it impresses.

            Second, I understand that global trade has been tilted towards everyone else and away from America and what we have sacrificed to the end that everyone (except us) is happy are American jobs (more on American jobs in a moment) so, again, everyone else is all happy so long as America plays ball (on their field), but as soon as the President talks about tilting it back, Europe (principally) throws a tizzy that he's trying to start a trade war.

            Third, I don't see Trump starting a trade war (unless Europe over-reacts because, well, he IS Trump after all and we hate him, right?). I see him throwing down the challenge, focusing the conversation. As an international business man, I'm willing to accept Trump knows what he's doing. Why do you (Europe) get to call what you're doing "negotiations" but Trump doesn't?

            Now, getting back to the jobs we've lost, we have recently gotten news that unemployment is now at historic lows and we are also aware Trump has been incentivizing American employers to keep or create jobs here in America ... so maybe talk of correcting the trade imbalance isn't so important now.

            First of all, you are welcome to point out which jobs exactly America has lost -- to Europe ( China is another matter).
            Secondly : I understand that many self-proclaimed experts in the US are treating trading economics like a football score nowadays, but no, it is slightly more complicated than "I win, you loose" ( I understand though that nuanced argument is not exactly fashionable these days ).
            The term "deficit" obviously implies something negative, a loss. In trade though that is not the same as a loss, unless you depend on a particular product, a particular service or a particular supplier and have no choice wether to buy or not. In your local grocery store you can alter your choice of products, the size of your shopping bag, go to another store, or make the choice to grow your own food. But in case you buy you have a "deficit" in money yet a "surplus" in groceries. It is called a trade. And there is nothing inherently good or bad about it ( that is up to policy), The same can be extended to any other purchase ( cars ?). Americas deficit is mainly the sum of low savings rates, consumers choices ( noone is forced to buy non US-products), political choices ( lack of domestic coroporate investment f.e.) and purchasing power. Also having the leading reserve currency plays a role. Or in other words : Beeing in a trade deficit means more money going out than in, but it also means more products and other purchases coming in than going out. Who is really worse off in the end is far less clear than some people would have you believe.
            It is true that f.e. Apple setting up shop in China and making products for the domestic markets that are then counted as "chinese" exports (trade deficit) has killed a certain amount of US jobs ( though rather on the lower end of the qualification/job ladder). It is also true however that companies tend to pass on lower wage costs to the consumer. That saves on purchase costs and has more money to spend elsewhere. That money then props up different industries ( as seen in the US by the switch from manufacturing to services). Which does not mean that you will be worse off in the aggregate. Just different.
            Now it is understood that transformations like that are highly disruptive to those concerned. It is also understood that these might be tempted to look out for scapegoats and of course, foreigners "playing unfair" will be up the list, especially if confirmed by politicians milking those sentiments. Yet "punitive tariffs", especially against allied nations, will not fix this. Because it is impossible. As the saying goes : "You will not be better off by dumping rocks in your harbour". Tariffs are essentially domestic taxes on imports with the aim of pricing them out of the market. They drive up prices for consumers and for businesses that need these imports, they kill choices for consumers, especially where domestic products are either not cost effective or lacking quality (premium cars). They inevitably result in retaliatory action--and they kill jobs.
            But well, it is just the US chamber of commerce saying so :

            https://www.uschamber.com/series/abo...-policies-rack

            As far as Europe is concerned : The EU has multiple times offered to resolve any concerns in negotiations :


            https://euobserver.com/tickers/141317

            https://www.politico.eu/article/dona...trade-tariffs/


            But obviously, these things are complex and not completely binary, drag on for years, and wouldnt allow a Twitter firework every now and then, right ?


            Not about to start a trade war ? You might missed a few things :


            http://thehill.com/homenews/administ...an-cars-report


            https://www.marketwatch.com/story/ho...ire-2018-06-22


            Add to that incendiary rethoric, name calling, threats...? And obviously the claim that nations like Canada, Germany or Japan needed to be hit with punitive tariffs for reasons of "national security".

            https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...l-and-aluminum


            And it is already a foregone conclusion what the "investigation" of foreign carmakers and "national security", carried out by Mr. Ross, will find, right ?

            https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/20...ounds-sources/



            Harley might illustrate though that trade wars are not "good and easy to win" ( yes, he said it, link no problem).

            https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...s-eu-trade-war



            Donald Trump accused Harley-Davidson Inc. of surrendering in his budding trade war with the EU after the company said it would relocate production outside the U.S. in response to European retaliation for the presidents tariffs on imported metals.

            Surprised that Harley-Davidson, of all companies, would be the first to wave the White Flag, Trump said in a tweet shortly after departing the White House on the presidential helicopter. I fought hard for them and ultimately they will not pay tariffs selling into the E.U., which has hurt us badly on trade, down $151 Billion. Taxes just a Harley excuse - be patient!







            Personally I think that between economies like the US and the EU ALL tariffs should fall. On BOTH sides. Trying to force the EU to back down one-sided is a predictable failure that will predictably damage both sides.
            Anyone with actual experience on the issue will confirm to you anyway that different regulatory environments are a far more important issue for internationally active companies than tariffs. Tariffs are easier to implement and allow posturing. At least for some time. Yet when the negative consequences hit and the other side still hasnt backed down you need a Plan B.
            If you dont have one than the resulting tit for tat spiral can only point downwards for both parties. Between economies the size of the US and the EU that is a pretty large gamble.


            Last edited by Voland; 06-26-2018, 06:07 AM.

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            • #7
              In this discussion, it is irrelevant to suggest "Europe hasn't stolen jobs, but China has" because it all goes to the trade imbalance.

              Your entire treatment of price disparities would be fine, if the playing field was level. It is not. Europe (and China, et al) moans and complains when Trump wants to level the playing field, in my opinion, for two reasons: First, as I said previously, the agreements have favored them for so long, they don't like (or want) change and, second, they are afraid they can't compete on a level playing field. You say Europe has wanted to settle differences through negotiations, I see that as what Trump is doing (at least initiating) ... in negotiations, you offer [something] and it is either accepted or rejected ... but usually counter-offered. Europe won't counter-offer but, instead, wants to piss and moan that Trump is starting a trade war. THAT is not negotiation: It is bullying (getting the offer to back down). They need to read The Art of War or get one up on Trump and how he operates: The Art of the Deal, but at minimum quit trying to bully him into backing down.

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              • #8
                Oh, you are welcome to point out WHICH trade agreements with the EU have allegedly disadvantaged the US. And how ? And where has the EU played unfair ? Exactly ? Just post them here.
                You do realize meanwhile what the TTIP negotiations were about ? Actually reopening them would be the way out and you dont have to take my word for it. The EU has declared to be open for the idea, the Trump administration has sent mixed signals. Putting it very, very neutral.


                http://nationalinterest.org/feature/...conflict-25012


                As far as negotiations in general are concerned : The Trump administration has pretty much killed them before starting them. By imposing the "punitive" tariffs.
                Because as said above : The idea of hammering and bullying the other side into making concessions might work in real estate. It wont work in politics. At least not between parties like the US and the EU. At the very least it should be obvious that you have to leave the other side ways to save face ( if your anticipated endgame is a compromise). If you only leave them the choice between total capitulation or ...else than at least dont blame them for fighting back.
                As far as "bullying" is concerned : I would accept ( though not agree) if you were painting this as part of some cunning plan to scare the other party into making concessions. Yet the claim that actually the Europeans are bullying poor Donald turns reality on its head. I wont even bother to post tweets and statements because that is just too easy to google.

                Oh and by the way : Now the US president threatens Harley with a "big tax" over their move :

                https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/...tariff-big-tax

                Damn them for making business decisions, right ?

                You have still not elaborated as to how tariffs are supposed to "level" the playing field. It may be inconvenient, but they wont. Because they never have. (You could try to prove me wrong of course ...)

                The only plausible way out, as pointed out above, would be to reopen TTIP. On mutual (!) removal of barriers to trade. Yet that was on the table anyway. Noone needed to talk up a trade war for that.


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                • #9
                  WELL, I can see your mind is already made up that your POV is the only POV ... so no point in continuing.

                  Thank you for the exchange.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DavidSF View Post
                    WELL, I can see your mind is already made up that your POV is the only POV ... so no point in continuing.

                    Thank you for the exchange.

                    No. I challenged you to provide a coherent alternative argument -- in light of the facts that I linked and the points that I made. You didnt. Thats cool.
                    Yet it is still economics, honey. It is not even a point that is seriously disputed between righties and lefties. The only way that tariffs can work in balancing an economic relationship is by destroying/ cutting trade. Because that is what they do : They price goods out of the market. Yet their effect is always both ways. Example : Obviously Trump can crush the US business of the german carmakers, as he has threatened multiple times. Because he doesnt want to see any more Mercs on 5th Ave and all that. Yet the jobs that would be axed---would be american ones--at Daimler, BMW and others US plants. Where else ? Would that mean that american competitors would hire more ? Build better cars ? Well, good luck.
                    If his gamble was to scare the Europeans into blinking first, with bullying and tariffs, than he has already failed. As illustrated by Harleys move ( and they wont be the only ones, since the EU know precisely where to hit). That leaves him the option to keep escalating ( but then he needs a plan what to tell his rustbelt fanbase about rising prices and predictable layoffs), or to take a step back and try to soberly talk about issues instead of each other (something that the EU has always offered anyway).
                    That Trump has apparently invited Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission to come to Washington, could indicate that the latter is beeing considered. Hopefully :



                    https://www.politico.eu/article/us-p...trade-tariffs/



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                    • #11
                      I see no further need to engage because you keep trying to isolate the argument about Europe and all my comments are about the general trade imbalance, including much more than just Europe.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by DavidSF View Post
                        I see no further need to engage because you keep trying to isolate the argument about Europe and all my comments are about the general trade imbalance, including much more than just Europe.
                        Maybe Trump can get Europe to buy American by threatening fire and fury Why would somebody want Kentucky Bourbon when you can get Scotch from Scotland/Even Harley is bailing out on the US.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by redrover View Post

                          Maybe Trump can get Europe to buy American by threatening fire and fury Why would somebody want Kentucky Bourbon when you can get Scotch from Scotland/Even Harley is bailing out on the US.
                          Uhm ... if I'm not willing to engage further with Voland who is at least intelligent (even if more than a little condescending), why do you presume I'd engage further with you on this topic?

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                          • #14
                            There will always be unhappy people when someone removes, or balances an imbalance.

                            The unhappy ones will always be those who were getting more than they should have.

                            Word games, complaints and unhappy rhetoric - maybe worse - can be expected.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Captain Trips View Post
                              There will always be unhappy people when someone removes, or balances an imbalance.

                              The unhappy ones will always be those who were getting more than they should have.

                              Word games, complaints and unhappy rhetoric - maybe worse - can be expected.



                              There is no rule in economics, neither on the right nor on the left, that directly links trade balances to prosperity. Nor does having more goods coming in than getting out mean that you are "loosing". You are trading green bucks for goods and by choice ( a nation with a savings rate as low as that of the US, private debt as high as that of the US plus the leading reserve currency is very unlikely to have balanced trade by the way) Unless you believe that you should be getting something for free of course. Or unless in closed economic system like the former eastern bloc where there was often just one brand and one supplier ( noone in the US is forced to buy german cars, french wine or italian suits after all).
                              It is even widely considered reasonable that countries concentrate on export goods that they are good at. For the US that would be service/IT. For Germany cars and machines. etc.
                              There is plenty of historical evidence though that trying to force economical outcomes with political means ( tariffs ?) never works. And that the idea of "balancing" an economic relationship
                              with an instrument like punitive tariffs--is ultimately self-defeating ( even if probably popular in the short-term).
                              Because that is not how tariffs work, there is no way around it. They are domestic taxes, supposed to price certain goods out of the market. They are paid by the domestic consumer and by domestic companies that want or need certain imports (steel f.e.). Where they can, they might switch to domestic suppliers ( that in return typically raise their prices). That is already what is happening in the US :


                              https://www.uschamber.com/series/abo...-policies-rack


                              These companies have thus less incentive and need to stay innovative and competitive, because the governement moves competitors out of the way. Protectionism doesnt lead to business champions. Never has.
                              And where they continue to rely on imports, they will pass the predictable price hikes on to the customers. That typically results in higher consumer prices, less choice--and layoffs ( where the higher prices lead to a breakdown in sales). The only way how measures like that can be assumed to have a balancing effect is by causing trade to collapse ( thus a certain "rebalance"). And that does not even count retaliatory measures by trading partners.

                              That is why f.e. also GM does not consider Trump crushing their european competitors US business a good idea :


                              https://www.theguardian.com/business...ariffs-gm-jobs


                              Now you could of course gamble that raising the stakes and the risks high enough will scare other parties into making you concessions. Yet that is at best a very reckless gamble. And if it doesn`t work you can only climb down--or escalate. With many peoples prosperity on the table.
                              Last edited by Voland; 07-02-2018, 05:31 AM.

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