US President Donald Trump is about to unleash nothing short of a trade war against the EU, Canada and China, Ivan Danilov, a Russian economist and author of the popular political blog Crimson Alter writes for RIA Novosti.
On March 1, Trump announced the imposition of 25 percent tariffs on EU exports of steel and 10 percent on aluminum, adding that similar restrictions will be imposed on other global exporters.
Three days later, the White House signaled that it won't exclude its longstanding ally Canada from global tariffs on imported metals regardless of domestic pressure.
The move immediately prompted a storm of criticism both from Brussels and Ottawa which have pledged to retaliate.
"We will not sit idly by while our industry is hit with unfair measures that put thousands of European jobs at risk," Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, stated. "The EU will react firmly and commensurately to defend our interests. The Commission will bring forward in the next few days a proposal for WTO-compatible countermeasures against the US to rebalance the situation."
According to The Telegraph, Brussels will target products which are "manufactured in key Republican states as well as orange juice from Florida, a critical swing state in elections."
That means Brussels is going to deal a heavy blow to the Trump camp ahead of the 2018 congressional and gubernatorial elections, the economist emphasized.
Meanwhile, responding to the pressure from a pro-Canadian lobby, Trump advisor Peter Navarro told Fox News that there will be no exemption for anyone: "As soon as he starts exempting countries he has to raise tariffs on everybody else," he said. "As soon as he exempts one country his phone starts ringing from the heads of state of other countries."
In response, Finance Minister Bill Morneau stated that Ottawa is ready to take counter-measures.
"We're going to remind them [the Americans] that we don't think a trade war is in anyone's best interests, and we don't want to be forced to react, but of course we will if we have to," Morneau remarked in an interview with Canadian broadcaster CTV News.
"For example, in case of emergency, they can accept an agreement on the complete exclusion of the US dollar from international trade," the economist suggested, adding that "the consequences for the US economy and the Trump administration's ambitions will be catastrophic."
In contrast to other market players, China has refrained from issuing threats and simply called upon Washington to show "restraint," Danilov noted.
The crux of the matter is that the Chinese aluminum and steel manufacturers do not view the American market as a primary destination for their goods.
Citing Credit Suisse, Forbes pointed out Monday that China's combined imports of steel and aluminum totaled less than 0.2 percent of all goods sold to the United States in 2016.
Danilov believes that Washington's aggressive economic policies which have already driven a wedge between the US and its closest allies clearly indicate that America is losing credibility.
If Trump or his congressmen do not stop now and open the door to a large-scale trade war, there is a possibility that the countries which have fallen prey to Trump's restrictions will start coordinated actions against the United States, the economist believes.
In any case, Trump is unlikely to rise victorious in this one-against-all battle, Danilov concluded.
The views and opinions expressed by Ivan Danilov are those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.