The imposition of new "America First" tariffs and Trump's remarks about having "a lot of problems" with the EU's trade policy have made people worry that these two allies might soon enter into a trade war. Trump had already returned from Davos when an interview that he gave to the UK's ITV News with Pierce Morgan aired on Sunday, in which the American President bellowed the following implied threat that deserves to be repeated in full:
"I've had a lot of problems with European Union, and it may morph into something very big from that standpoint, from a trade standpoint. We cannot get our product in. It's very, very tough. And yet they send their product to us — no taxes, very little taxes. It's very unfair. They're not the only one, by the way. I could name many countries and places that do. But the European Union has been very, very unfair to the United States. And I think it will turn out to be very much to their detriment."
The EU wasn't going to take any of this laying down, which is why a representative of the European Commission issued a strong retort when he said the following:
"For us trade policy is not a zero sum game. It is not about winners and losers. We here in the European Union believe that trade can and should be win-win. We also believe that while trade has to be open and fair it also has to be rules-based. The European Union stands ready to react swiftly and appropriately in case our exports are affected by any restrictive trade measures by the United States."
In what many would have imagined was the realm of political fantasy prior to the 2016 election, Trump's Presidency has now put the US and the EU on the path of an all-out trade war. Having contrasted his vision of "economic nationalism" with the EU's one of globalization while speaking to the international elite in Davos, the American leader now seems to proverbially be "putting his money where his mouth is" and taking steps to fulfill his promise that the US will rework all of its trading relationships in order to make them reciprocal and more equal, even if this leads to an economic war with its EU military ally.
Sergio Borg, Italian political commentator, and Fernando Martinez, Independent news analyst from the US, joined our discussion.
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