Trump Issues Trade Ultimatum

June 24, 2018 Last Updated: June 25, 2018

President Donald Trump issued a trade ultimatum on June 24, demanding that America’s trade partners take down “artificial trade barriers and tariffs,” or else face reciprocal action.

“The United States is insisting that all countries that have placed artificial Trade Barriers and Tariffs on goods going into their country, remove those Barriers & Tariffs or be met with more than Reciprocity by the U.S.A. Trade must be fair and no longer a one way street!” the president wrote on Twitter.

The president’s ultimatum comes two days after he warned the European Union that the United States would impose a 20 percent tariff on imported cars unless the EU takes down its tariffs and trade barriers. The announcement sent shares of European carmakers tumbling.

Last month, the Trump administration imposed a tariff on steel and aluminum imported from European Union, Canada, and Mexico. All responded by outlining plans for reciprocal tariffs.

Earlier this month, the White House imposed a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods. China responded with plans for reciprocal tariffs on U.S. goods, and Trump jabbed back with a call for a 10 percent tariff on an additional $200 billion of Chinese products.

Trump campaigned on a promise to place American interests first on the world stage. He blames past administrations for being too weak on trade.

Trump has been adamant about his trade measures despite opposition at home and abroad. In the latest tiff, Trump pulled the United States signature from the G7 communique and slammed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for announcing counter-tariffs on U.S. goods.

The United States is in the late stages of renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. Trump has been open to scrapping the deal if American demands are not met. In that case, U.S. trade representatives would negotiate separate deals with each nation.

Criticism at home has come at Trump from both sides of the aisle. Conservatives generally oppose tariffs, especially against allies, while Democrats have been finding fault with virtually every Trump policy. Major media outlets have picked up on the criticism, but the narrative is false, according to State Secretary Mike Pompeo.

“There’s a myth of American retreat from the world, and I have to tell you it is just a myth,” Pompeo said on June 22. “President Trump’s agenda is the most pro-business, most pro-international trade of any president in history.”

 

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