BRUSSELS is gearing up for a bitter trade war with US and has pledged to fight fire with fire if Washington carries out its threat to introduce import barriers to steel and aluminium products from Europe.
European Union trade officials have warned such a move would result in counter-tarrifs being slapped on exports from the US within days.
They said iconic US products ranging from Harley-Davidson motorcycles to Jack Daniels whiskey would be targeted in any retaliatory strikes and that preparations for such a confrontation were in full swing.
Analysts said the choice of products was significant as Harley-Davidson is based in Wisconsin, home state of Republican Speaker Paul Ryan, and Bourbon is mainly produced in Tennessee and Kentucky, home of Donald Trump supporter Mitch McConnell, who is the Senate Majority Leader.
Officials in Brussels insist the list dates back to the last major commercial dispute when George W Bush was in the White House but acknowledged this had been recently adapted.
The EU’s willingness and capability to react “immediately and adequately” in such a situation was made clear by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker last summer.
A defensive backlash is allowed under World Trade Organisation (WTO) regulations although Brussels said it would also lodge an official complaint with officials from the global body.
Steel and aluminium are particularly touchy subjects between the US, China and the EU because they are so closely linked to global over-capacity and prices are constantly under heavy pressure.
Full article: EU ignites Trump War: Brussels to slap trade sanctions on Harleys and Jack Daniels (Express)