In the midst of an election campaign, Donald Trump is not losing sight of his trade war. His administration rekindled tensions on Friday by announcing that it would immediately impose additional tariffs on imports of aluminum alloy sheet from 18 countries, including Germany, Brazil, Spain, the ‘India or Italy. The two countries affected are Germany and Bahrain, the investigation of the American authorities having shown that they are the ones which subsidized their industry the most. For Germany, tariffs could represent between 51% and 353% of the value of the products.
The decision is not final, it will be up to the American International Trade Commission to decide, in February 2021. But, in the meantime, these duties will be levied. “That’s $ 1.96 billion worth of goods and it’s a pretty big percentage of the total aluminum industry in this country,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Fox Business.
China is not affected by this new wave. It had already been sanctioned by additional customs duties on many products. For Wilbur Ross, part of China’s excess capacity has also been transferred to other countries, leading them to practice dumping on the American market.
It was with Chinese aluminum that the trade war began between Beijing and Washington in the spring of 2018. Imports of steel and aluminum had been taxed at 25% and 10% . China then announced reprisals , targeting in particular meat and fruit.
Since then, the two countries have engaged in a standoff that has led to a slight reduction in the US trade deficit vis-à-vis Beijing, but an increase in the deficit vis-à-vis other countries. The two countries signed a cooperation agreement , which did not, however, resolve certain problems, in particular on intellectual property or investments. Other sanctions remain unresolved , in particular on cars, European wines and cheeses.