You are currently browsing the daily archive for June 27, 2018.

My previous post discussed the 2018 tariff war, featuring the United States, China, EU nations, Canada and Mexico.

On June 1, President Trump levied tariffs against EU countries, Canada and Mexico.

The media said this was unfair. Trump took issue with one outlet:

Canada retaliated immediately with an incredible list of tariffs on various US products. Please read the National Post article for the full list and explanations. Excerpts and a summary follow.

American products include sleeping bags, affecting the manufacturers in California and Colorado.

Breakfast foods are on the list: fresh orange juice from Florida, strawberries for jam from California and, surprisingly, maple syrup (emphases mine):

Because a producers’ association in Quebec — what Conservative MP Maxime Bernier likes to call the “maple syrup cartel” — uses quotas to regulate the amount of maple syrup the province turns out, U.S. producers have been increasing their imports to Canada. Since the early 2000s, Quebec has experienced the slowest growth in maple syrup production of any syrup-producing market in North America — about 60 per cent, according to the Montreal Economic Institute. Meanwhile, Maine’s production grew 131 per cent and Vermont’s 254 per cent.

A tariff on felt pens affects Pennsylvania, the primary state of their manufacture. Also:

In one of his few decisions that didn’t break from White House norms, Trump is using the same type of pen for executive orders that Barack Obama and George W. Bush used. You guessed it: a felt pen.

A tariff on ketchup also affects the state:

As of Thursday, U.S.-produced mustard and ketchup are facing new tariffs. In the ketchup category, it’s no surprise that Heinz rakes in a big market share. Of the more than $264 million in ketchup that Canada imports from the states annually, $81.4 million comes from Heinz’s home state and congressional battleground state Pennsylvania

Wisconsin will be affected by tariffs on a number of products:

A long list of tariff categories announced Thursday seem to target the state of Wisconsin, farmers from which apparently inspired some of Trump’s harshest anti-Canada words when in an April 2017 speech in the state he called NAFTA a “complete and total disaster” for the U.S., taking particular aim at Canada’s system of dairy supply management.

Among U.S. states, Wisconsin is the top exporter of handkerchiefs, tissues, tablecloths, soy sauce and fruit spreads (the category in which we are penalizing strawberry jam, specifically); it is the state from which we get the second-most yogurt and toilet paper.

The cherry on top: most of the soy sauce produced in North America comes from Kikkoman’s plant in the Wisconsin congressional district held by Speaker Ryan, who announced earlier this year he won’t be running again.

The gist of the article is that Canada’s tariffs could adversely affect the Republican Party’s chances of winning seats in this autumn’s mid-term elections on the assumption that voters will turn against Trump for his tariff policy which, in turn, brought new and wide-ranging tariffs from Canada. We shall see.

On June 5, The Hill reported that GOPe senators, led by Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), want to rein in Trump’s trade policy, including tariffs:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that he will not bring up a free-standing bill to push back on President Trump’s trade agenda, but that GOP senators might be able to add it as an amendment to other legislation.

Support among Republicans has grown for legislation backed by Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) that would give Congress power to authorize or reject any new tariffs imposed because of national security concerns.

GOP senators say McConnell doesn’t want to risk a confrontation with the president but also wants to be responsive to the concerns of colleagues who think Trump’s trade agenda has run amok.

Then, the G7 took place in Canada, where tariffs were very much on the agenda:

The G7 countries were unhappy Trump had actually imposed tariffs. They had been given several weeks before then to negotiate …

The G7 communique became an issue. Justin Trudeau had been nice to Trump at the meeting. After Trump left early for the Singapore Summit, ‘Justin from Canada’, as Trump likes to call him, changed his tune:

An interesting dynamic had been in play between Canada and the EU:

By June 21, this had changed:

Trump wants these negotiations in order to achieve trade reciprocity. Until the US can reach truly fair trade deals with the countries affected, tariffs will remain in place.

Fox’s Lou Dobbs’s survey of June 19 showed that Americans largely agree with Trump’s policy:

Meanwhile, exemptions are being granted to certain US companies:

On June 21, The Conservative Treehouse reported on a Wall Street Journal story about Germany’s fending off US tariffs:

Yup, Germany, without consulting with Emmanuel from France, just unilaterally announce the EU is willing to drop all trade tariffs against U.S. auto manufacturers as part of their strategy to fend-off steel, aluminum and crushing auto tariffs

Don’t overlook Angela Merkel making this announcement without consulting with Emmanuel Macron. The German auto-sector is vital to the German economy. Lose the support of the auto industry in Germany and Chancellor Merkel is toast.

As Trump says:

Regardless of the media outcry, Trump’s trade plan will ultimately work to the benefit of all nations involved.

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