The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) has published a new list of additional European products that it’s reviewing in the Section 301 investigation involving the enforcement of US WTO rights.
The notice contains a list of products, initially published in April 2019 and July 2019. The extended list is weighing the idea that 100% tariffs could be seen on products from almost every country in Europe. Some of these products include whiskeys, virgin olive oil, yogurt, cheese, knives, tools, liqueurs, and dozens of other products.
The list published earlier this year is worth more than $10 billion. The USTR is hoping to weaponize tariffs to force Europe to cut subsidies to its manufacturing base.
Bernstein analyst Trevor Stirling, quoted by CNBC, said the list of potentially tariffed European goods “once again includes blended whiskeys and Cognac … The fact that they had been excluded from the ‘final’ October list was a dodged bullet for Spirits companies back then. But now the threat is back.”
“This is a full reshuffle – we are potentially seeing a rolling tariff, which we highlighted as a possibility two months ago,” Stirling added.
The USTR’s weaponization of tariffs are in direct response to pressure Europe to cut subsidies to Airbus as it alleges these unfair practices hurt Boeing.
Also, consider how Boeing is in a crisis and the groundings of the 737 Max have boosted production and sales of the Airbus A320neo, which by late 2019, has outpaced Boeing in orders. Just this development alone has angered the Trump administration.
USTR’s office said in a Dec. 2 statement: “As a result of the EU’s failure to address these subsidies, on October 18, the United States imposed tariffs of 10% on large civil aircraft and 25% on agricultural and other products.”
USTR added that “the United States is initiating a process to assess increasing the tariff rates and subjecting additional EU products to the tariffs,” because Europe has failed to decrease subsidies to its manufacturers.
It seems that President Trump’s confidence as a protectionist has soared since reaching a phase one trade deal with China on Friday, that his administration is now ready to intensify a trade war with Europe.