amfori clearly stands against all forms protectionism. The looming threat of a global trade conflict triggered by recent actions and statements by the US government is worrying. There is no doubt, the consequences of a trade war will be felt for many years and maybe even decades. A trade war can never be sustainable.
It is highly likely that Friday’s tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium risk causing serious damage to US manufacturers that are reliant on those imports – manufacturers that significantly out-number US steel and aluminium producers. Most people are also aware that the EU industry may also be affected by the trade divergence that could occur as a result of those tariffs.
However, what is less well-known is that the EU’s retailers and consumers may also be affected. Although, at this moment, EU exports are exempt from the US tariffs until May, the EU Commission has announced that it is prepared to retaliate with tariffs on a wide range of products. Most of these are industrial, but included are foodstuffs such as sweetcorn, rice and orange juice, various clothing and footwear, and certain household articles.
amfori deplores the actions by President Trump and sees no legitimacy in the claim that it is taken under the grounds of national security. However, while we recognise that to safeguard its interests the EU can legitimately retaliate with duties on US imports of certain products, we urge the European Commission to take action only within the WTO framework and consider very carefully the damage this may cause to amfori members (retailers and importers), and recognise that there are no winners in a trade war.