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trade war?
June 25, 2018

China and the European Union have teamed up as a means of pushing back against the U.S. trade threat, with Beijing's top economic adviser, Vice Premier Liu He, warning that recent American policies could result in a global recession, Bloomberg and Reuters report. Both regions have been grappling with new U.S. tariffs, with the EU set to impose retaliatory tariffs on $3.3 billion of American goods this week in response to President Trump's restrictions on aluminum and steel imports, and China staring down $34 billion in tariffs to be instated early next month.

"Unilateralism is on the rise and trade tensions have appeared in major economies," Liu said at the press conference alongside European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen. "China and the EU firmly oppose trade unilateralism and protectionism and think these actions may bring recession and turbulence to the global economy."

While representatives of China and the EU are prepared to meet next month to exchange proposals for bilateral investment, Katainen notes that there are still disagreements that need to be sorted out, including the EU's concern about Beijing properly preventing overcapacity in the high-tech and steel and aluminum sectors. Jeva Lange

February 16, 2018

The Department of Commerce is reportedly set to recommend some serious tariffs on aluminum and steel imports. Axios reported Friday that these recommendations would set a minimum 7.7 percent tariff on all aluminum imports and a 24 percent tariff on all steel imports.

Under these recommendations, tariffs on aluminum imports from China, Russia, Venezuela, and Vietnam specifically will climb to 23.5 percent. Additionally, no country will be able to export more than of 86.7 percent of the amount of aluminum they sold to the U.S. in 2017, Axios says.

A select few countries would also face higher tariffs on steel, including Egypt, India, and Turkey. Russia, Vietnam, and China are also among this group, which will be subjected to a minimum 53 percent tariff on all steel imports.

These recommendations were presented after a Section 232 Investigation by the Department of Commerce, which was meant to determine "whether import restrictions on steel and aluminum are needed to protect national security," Reuters says. But implementing these policies would amount to "a declaration of war against the world on aluminum and steel," a former senior government trade official told Axios.

There is no guarantee that President Trump will act on all or even many of the recommended changes, though he has reportedly long itched for stronger tariffs on steel and aluminum imports — despite the objections of several members of his administration, Axios notes. Earlier this week, several prominent Republicans, including Sens. Mike Lee (Utah) and Pat Toomey (Pa.), warned Trump that imposing severe tariffs on such imports would damage American industry. Kelly O'Meara Morales

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