Civil Service eassay –Trump treads into a trade war
Trump shakes up America’s trade policy
At the stroke of midnight on June 1, the United States will impose tariffs of 15% and 20% on Aluminium and Steel imports respectively coming from the EU countries, who have been America’s most-trusted allies. The imposition of such duties was a policy measure planned to reduce America’s adverse trade balance with EU. It was promised by Trump during his pre-election rallies as a way of keeping America’s interest first and foremost. President Trump is now following through on his promise.
The EU countries, Canada, and Mexico, all allies of the U.S., remonstrated when Trump announced his policy. The levy of duties was kept in abeyance as the trade officials of both sides decided to explore ways to allay American concerns. However, the negotiations remained fruitless, and Trump went ahead to enforce the sanctions.
Quite predictably, the American announcement has met with matching retaliatory levy by the affected parties. Some experts from among the Republicans have criticized the harsh steps as damaging and counterproductive for U.S. interests. Goods produced inside America with American labor are costlier than the imported goods. Curbing such imports would impair American competitiveness in global trade. Prominent Republicans fear that such an ill-conceived move will annoy its allies weakening America’s diplomatic clout worldwide. That the move is meant to appease the ultra-nationalists who propelled Trump to power is clearly evident. Trump might vainly think that he is making America great again through such a measure, but he is mistaken.
The measures have been imposed on grounds of national security – a ploy that empowers the President to have his way in such matters. The allies don’t hope that the quirky Trump would reverse his decision later. The way the European powers failed to convince Trump to reverse his decision with regard to the Iran Nuclear Deal, and Paris Climate Accord remains fresh in their minds.
Much to the discomfort of the European powers, President Trump has been quite lukewarm towards NATO, citing the disproportionately high monetary contribution his country makes to the alliance. Over all, Trump, unlike most of his predecessors, has taken a strident stance against globalization.
Quite disturbingly, during these politically difficult times, Italy and Spain are also decrying globalization and Free Trade, Europe seems to follow in the footsteps of Trump-led America, reversing the decades-old policy towards integration and harmony that was so painstakingly crafted.
America’s longstanding partners are clueless about the turn of events, but continue to hope that the prevailing dissonance would soon be a thing of the past, and the good old days of trans-Atlantic unity would return.