With President Trump rambling on about unfair trade deals all over the world, the European Union is getting as weary as the rest of us at his bullying blather.
A top EU budget official responded to Trump’s threats of a trade war by essentially saying, “Bring it on, dotard!”
EU budget commissioner Guenther Oettinger was speaking to Germany’s Welt am Sonntag newspaper about Trump’s threats of punitive tariffs to help rebalance U.S. trade deficits with other countries including the EU when he made this comment:
“If European exporters have to pay tariffs, that will become a two-way street. Then U.S. exporters will have to pay tariffs here.”
Yes, trade is bilateral, which is why negotiating trade deals is a long and complicated affair involving weighing the benefits and disadvantages each side may experience in every deal being considered.
An organization like the EU, used to normal diplomatic protocol in discussing trade with other nations, has had to learn how to deal with an inexperienced and arrogant U.S. President who negotiates publicly through Twitter and the press rather than in the closed door sessions in embassies and government offices.
In just the last week, the EU has had to put up with Trump running around saying things like this:
“I’ve had a lot of problems with the European Union, and it may morph into something very big from that standpoint, from a trade standpoint,” as he said to Piers Morgan in a British TV interview.
“They’re not the only one, by the way. I could name many countries and places that do. But the European Union has been very, very unfair to the United States. And I think it will turn out to be very much to their detriment,” Trump continued.
Turning his jingoistic campaign slogans into actual policy, Trump runs the risk of killing the goose that laid the golden egg by damaging the markets for U.S. exports.
With a brain (using the term loosely) stuck in the 1950’s, Trump thinks that the rest of the world is just sitting around waiting for the proverbial chewing gum and nylons from a country that in actuality no longer has a monopoly on producing high quality goods and whose agricultural exports are increasingly shunned as filled with dangerous pesticides and genetically-modified genes banned in Europe.
With Republicans historically unable to govern without destroying the American economy in the process (e.g., the G. W. Bush-created Great Recession of 2008), Trump’s trade moves may just be the trigger this time that the mortgage crisis was in 2008. The last week’s slide in the stock market may be just the beginning of the Republican crash that will inevitably ensue.