In a document lodged at the World Trade Organization, the EU has set out 25-percent tariff increases aimed in part at hurting the electoral districts of republican heavy-weights like House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Besides targeting Harley-Davidson motorcycles (made in Wisconsin) and bourbon from Kentucky, a number of other products like canoes and chewing tobacco are targeted at a reduced ten-percent rate.
Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European commission promised immediate retaliation after Wilbur Ross, the US Commerce Secretary, imposed the new tariffs citing that insufficient progress had been made in talks with three of the US’s traditional allies to reduce the trade deficit. Juncker called the move “unjustified” and said the EU had no choice but to impose tariffs and bring a case before the WTO concerning the issue. French President, Emmanuel Macron, called the move illegal and a mistake, while Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced like-for-like tariffs on imports up to 16.6bn Canadian dollars. As the strongest trade action taken in the postwar era, Trudeau called the US impositions an “affront” to Canadians who had fought alongside American comrades in arms.