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Commercial war: after a brief lull, the United States relaunch the storm


Commercial war: after a brief lull, the United States relaunch the storm

Paris (AFP)

After a few months of appeasement on the trade front, US President Donald Trump has brutally revived hostilities in recent days, targeting both his favorite target, China, but also allies like Europe or Brazil.

Here is an overview of the various trade conflicts opened by the United States for almost two years.

- The endless soap opera with China -

This is a thread of Donald Trump's mandate: the two largest economies in the world have spent the past two years battling hard with tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of products.

Donald Trump is leading this tariff war to get the Chinese authorities to put an end to massive State subsidies, the forced transfer of technology and the theft of intellectual property.

Next deadline: December 15, date when new US taxes must be put in place.

Meanwhile, the prospect of a trade deal, which pulled the markets up in November, has taken the lead.

The US president now ensures that he still considers it ... after his possible reelection in November 2020.

- The EU, a jostling ally

Since his election, Donald Trump has continued to brandish the threat of customs duties on European imports.

If cars, the lungs of the German economy, are regularly targeted but for the moment spared, French products are now more in the sights of the US Head of State.

In question, the intention of Paris to implement a digital tax that Washington considers detrimental to US companies, especially "Gafa".

Sparkling wines, cheeses, cosmetics and handbags could therefore be heavily taxed - up to 100%, on an amount of products equivalent to $ 2.4 billion - by the United States.

The Minister of the Economy Bruno the Mayor has already warned that France will never "give up" its tax and will ask the European Commission a "strong response".

Another front: the interminable ongoing dispute at the World Trade Organization about Airbus and Boeing, Europeans and Americans accusing each other of illegal public aid. The United States was authorized in this case in October by the WTO to impose taxes on nearly $ 7.5 billion worth of European goods and services imported each year.

- Brazil and Argentina, surprise taxes -

At first glance, Brazil's Bolsonaro and Trump's America have everything to be strong allies.

But on October 2, the US president surprised his counterpart by imposing tariffs on Brazilian imports of steel and aluminum.

The same policy will apply to Argentina, which, like Brazil, exports the majority of these raw materials to the United States.

Donald Trump justifies this decision by the need to respond to the decline in the currencies of these two countries, including the Argentine peso that plummets due to a serious financial crisis.

- Precarious balance among neighbors -

Months of tension and negotiations were needed for the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (SCMTA), the new version of the Alena treaty, to come into being.

This new agreement must allow the three countries to continue to exchange billions of goods and services without customs duties.

The balance remains precarious, however, since it has not yet received the approval of the lower house of the US Congress, where the Democratic opposition is the majority. Approval is also ongoing in Canada.

Relations between Mexico, Canada and their neighbors remain tumultuous.

Donald Trump is regularly pressuring Mexico to force him to act against the influx of illegal migrants into the United States.

- New quarrels with India -

Trade disputes between India and the United States are not new and the two countries are often opposed within the WTO.

This summer, Donald Trump announced his wish to end the commercial benefits on imports from this country.

India had long enjoyed the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), which allowed open access to the US market. But the American president complained that he did not have the same counterpart on the Indian market.

In retaliation, India increased tariffs on 28 products imported from the United States, including almonds, apples and nuts.

© 2019 AFP

Source: france24

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