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EU Speeding Up Talks on Free Trade Deals With US Allies a 'Message' - Scholar

© REUTERS / John MacDougallFrench President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Donald Trump confer at the start of the first working session of the G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017.
French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Donald Trump confer at the start of the first working session of the G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017. - Sputnik International
EU leaders plan to discuss measures against Trump’s protectionist policies. According to an EU official, they will take into consideration accelerating free trade deals with Mexico, South America, Japan, Singapore and others willing to engage with them. Sputnik discussed this with Shino Takayama, Research Fellow at the University of Queensland.

Sputnik: How lucrative is the acceleration of free trade agreements for the EU and Japan in view of the US’ imposed tariffs?

*Shino Takayama: In response to this rising protectionism in the United States, so basically EU is trying to speed up negotiations with these countries and I think speeding up is maybe good as a message standing against the rise of protectionism and it's going to benefit consumers in these countries the faster they approve this free trade agreement.

Sputnik: What effects have the imposed tariffs had on Japan and has the nation managed to avoid their impact?

Shino Takayama: In Japan, the steel industry is an important industry, particularly, the industry helped Japanese economic growth after World War II, but basically the important trade partners of Japanese steel are mainly China, South Korea and Thailand, so I think the direct effects of this tariff introduced by Mr. Trump would be limited on Japanese industry.

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Sputnik: Donald Trump previously said that the European Union was treating US unfairly regarding terms of trade, and he's been saying that a trade war is a good thing, is a good option, what is your response to this? How justified is his position?

Shino Takayama: My prediction about the direct effects of this tariff that it is limited, however, if it starts a trade war, like EU or China are saying that they will start a retaliation, basically introducing tariffs against American products, then I don't think it will be good for American consumers and producers, because the steel industry is not the only industry in the United States and lots of companies use steel to make products, they are exporting their products to other countries, so I don't agree that trade war is good, I don't think the US will win.

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Sputnik: So, in your opinion the US not only will not profit from imposing the tariffs, but will even stand to lose from imposing the tariffs?

Shino Takayama: Some people may gain, but some people could lose, I think.

Sputnik: We're seeing a lot of talk about these tit-for-tat measures, what could they essentially lead to in the future and generally could there be this scenario of a full scale trade war, or do you think we're just on the brink of a trade war?

Shino Takayama: I think we're on the brink of a trade war, we don't know exactly what's going to happen, but China is already saying that they are going to introduce tariffs against American products if the US is going to serve  these tariffs, impose on their products, state products imported into the US, so we cannot exactly predict what's going to happen, because it is very political, but it could escalate the conflict more between these countries.

*Shino Takayama is a Research Fellow in Humanities and Social Sciences with the School of Economics at the University of Queensland.

The views and opinions expressed by Shino Takayama are those of speaker and do not necessarily reflect Sputnik's position.

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