EU to tax Harleys, bourbon and other US goods
BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union will start taxing a range of U.S. imports today, including quintessentially American goods like Harley-Davidson bikes and cranberries, in response to President Donald Trump's decision to slap tariffs on European steel and aluminum.
The 28-nation EU's trade chief, Cecilia Malmstrom, said Wednesday the bloc would introduce the tariffs on about 2.8 billion euros' ($3.4 billion) worth of U.S. products. The tariffs, which had been announced earlier this year, had previously been expected to come into force next month.
The goods targeted include typical American exports like bourbon, peanut butter, cranberries and orange juice, in a way that seems designed to create the most political pressure on Trump and U.S. politicians.
Harley-Davidson is from Wisconsin, the home state of Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. And bourbon is a big product of Kentucky, where the Senate majority leader, Republican Mitch McConnell, is from.
"We are left with no other choice," Malmstrom said in a statement. Trump imposed tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on imported aluminum from the EU on June 1. Europeans claim that is simply protectionism and breaks global trade rules.
"The rules of international trade, which we have developed over the years hand in hand with our American partners, cannot be violated without a reaction from our side," she said. "Needless to say, if the U.S. removes its tariffs, our measures will also be removed."
Trump said the measures against the EU are meant to protect U.S. national security interests, but the Europeans claim it cannot be that close allies, many of them NATO partners, would endanger U.S. security.
The EU exported some 5.5 million tons of steel to the U.S. last year. European steel producers are concerned about a loss of market access but also that steel from elsewhere will flood in.