World hits back at tariffs


Associated Press

WASHINGTON

The United States attacked first, imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum from around the globe and threatening to hit tens of billions of dollars in Chinese products.

Now, the world is punching back.

The European Union is set Friday to slap tariffs on $3.4 billion in American products, from whiskey and motorcycles to peanuts and cranberries. India and Turkey have already targeted U.S. products, ranging from rice to autos to sunscreen.

And the highest-stakes fight still looms: In two weeks, the United States is to start taxing $34 billion in Chinese goods. Beijing has vowed to immediately retaliate with its own tariffs on U.S. soybeans and other farm products in a direct shot at President Donald Trump’s supporters in America’s heartland.

The tit-for-tat conflict between the United States and China – the world’s two largest economies – is poised to escalate from there. The rhetoric already is intensifying.

“We oppose the act of extreme pressure and blackmail by swinging the big stick of trade protectionism,” a spokesman for China’s Commerce Ministry said Thursday. “The U.S. is abusing the tariff methods and starting trade wars all around the world.”

Cecilia Malmstrom, the EU’s trade commissioner, acknowledged that the EU had targeted some iconic American imports for tariffs, like Harley-Davidson motorcycles and bourbon, to “make noise” and put pressure on U.S. leaders.

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