Trump’s next trade tit-for-tat

While the trade war between the US and China may now be settled in negotiations, a new trade dispute is looming over the global economy.

943-ship-634

Global trade volumes slipped by 1.8% between January and March

World trade volumes fell by 1.8% in the first quarter compared with the previous three months, according to figures from the Dutch government. The sudden loss in trade momentum has been almost as severe as the aftermath of the 2001 dotcom bubble when trade volumes slid by 2.2%, says Tom Rees in The Daily Telegraph. And while the trade war between the US and China may now be settled in negotiations, a new trade dispute is looming over the global economy.

US president Donald Trump is taking on Europe. In response to a dispute over aircraft subsidies, Trump's administration has drafted a list of tariffs on $11bn-worth of European goods, and is also considering new levies on European cars. American fans of "fine European swordfish steaks, cotton sweaters, jams, and binoculars" should "stock up before tariffs take effect", say Annaliese Griffin and Jason Karaian on Quartz.

In retaliation, Brussels is considering punitive tariffs on $12bn-worth of US exports. American goods on the provisional list include frozen cod, beeswax, tractors and car parts, notes Jim Brunsden in the Financial Times. But in a "tit-for-tat battle, the European bloc is... the weaker party", says Irwin Stelzer in The Sunday Times. Europe's unemployment rate is twice America's, its highly taxed citizens are "easy prey" for populist parties, and its economy has slowed. Crucially, EU exports to America exceed imports from the US by about $100bn a year.

If the tariffs are imposed, the main loser would be Germany, as America is the biggest buyer of German cars. The EU reckons that Trump's 25% tariff would add €10,000 to the price of a car made in the EU; the bloc's exports to America could halve. German growth is already heading for 0%, and the car levy could tip it into recession.

Recommended

The charts that matter: bond yields slip while bitcoin tops $60,000
Economy

The charts that matter: bond yields slip while bitcoin tops $60,000

Cryptocurrency bitcoin soared to over $60,000 this week, while government bond yields fell back. Here’s how that has affected the charts that matter m…
16 Oct 2021
Whistleblower allegations – where now for Facebook?
Tech stocks

Whistleblower allegations – where now for Facebook?

The social-media giant has come in for some fierce criticism following revelations from a former employee. Just how much damage has been done?
16 Oct 2021
Inflation, energy crisis, strikes – have we gone back to the 1970s?
Investment strategy

Inflation, energy crisis, strikes – have we gone back to the 1970s?

Merryn and John talk about rising prices, productivity and the state of the labour market, plus are bond investors really the adults in the room, and …
15 Oct 2021
When will supply chains sort themselves out and what might that mean for inflation?
Inflation

When will supply chains sort themselves out and what might that mean for inflation?

Right now, congestion in global supply chains is driving inflation higher. At some point, that will sort itself out. So will that mean an end to high …
15 Oct 2021

Most Popular

Inflation is still one of the biggest threats to your personal finances
Investment strategy

Inflation is still one of the biggest threats to your personal finances

Central bankers and economists insist inflation will be gone by next year. We're not so sure, says Merryn Somerset Webb. So if you haven’t started to …
1 Oct 2021
How to invest in SMRs – the future of green energy
Energy

How to invest in SMRs – the future of green energy

The UK’s electricity supply needs to be more robust for days when the wind doesn’t blow. We need nuclear power, says Dominic Frisby. And the future of…
6 Oct 2021
How to invest as we move to a hydrogen economy
Energy

How to invest as we move to a hydrogen economy

The government has started to roll out its plans for switching us over from fossil fuels to hydrogen and renewable energy. Should investors buy in? St…
8 Oct 2021