BRUSSELS — Planned retaliation from the European Union over President Trump’s metal tariffs would hit a wide range of industries and impact many parts of the country, including New York, according to a draft obtained by the Daily News.
Trump’s tariff proclamations — signed last week — would slap duties on steel and aluminum from around the world, though he is so far expected to exempt Canada, Mexico and Australia.
European countries, many of which are NATO allies, argue that they should also be exempt, and EU officials including European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker have said that retaliatory tariffs include measures against classic American products such as bourbon.
Whiskey and other previously reported products from the list such as motorcycles have sparked speculation that the EU was targeting districts from congressional leaders such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Kentucky and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s Wisconsin, where Harley-Davidsons are made.
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But the draft of proposed retaliation tariffs, called “rebalancing” tariffs by EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom, shows they reach beyond messages to individual leaders and cover a broad array of products worth a total of $ 3.5 billion in annual trade.
The list covers $ 850 million worth of steel products that Trump says he is supporting with his tariffs, with other large targets including more than $ 500 million worth of bourbon in different sized containers, almost $ 200 million in sea-going motorboats and motor yachts, almost $ 200 million in “eye makeup preparations” and more than $ 140 million in “lip make-up preparations.”
While bourbon is made in Kentucky, two of the country’s largest cosmetics producers, Revlon and Estee Lauder, are based in New York, and the latter has major manufacturing and research facilities in Melville, Long Island.
Revlon, whose flagship factory is in North Carolina, and Estee Lauder both have facilities in Europe, and it is unclear how much of their business is part of the hundreds of millions of dollars in cosmetics goods on the EU list.
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T-shirts, cotton shorts and men’s leather-soled footwear are also targeted, likely affecting New York-based fashion brands.
Beyond industrial products, the draft from the European Commission also lists close to 60 agricultural products that would be tariffed, including more than $ 160 million in corn and more than $ 100 million in cranberries and cranberry juice, which would affect farmers throughout the country that Trump said he was working to protect.
Though the $ 3.5 billion is not a huge percentage of the more than $ 283 billion in goods exported by the U.S. to the EU last year, Trump’s tariffs and the possible retaliation measures have prompted fears of a larger trade war on both sides of the Atlantic.
Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, said earlier this month that the U.S. may lose up to 150,000 jobs if trade partners including Europe and others such as Japan retaliate against Trump’s tariffs.
“The last thing both sides of Atlantic need now is protectionism or escalation of Tariff increase. That would hurt both the US and EU,” said Czech Member of European Parliament Jan Zahradil, who claims that his Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists, a natural ally for the GOP, was the most “pro-Atlantic” in Brussels.
He told the Daily News that the EU “should not be hasty” and try to negotiate a deal to address U.S. concerns about national security, which is the stated reason why Trump says he is allowed to place the tariffs.
Trump has also raised the possibility of escalating the potential trade war if Europe reacts, and said that he could increase tariffs on EU cars sent across the pond.
In recent days he has also widened his rhetoric against Europe to include more trade beyond steel, and said Monday that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross would speak to his counterparts to consider reducing tariffs that were “not fair to our farmers and manufacturers.”
A European Commission source told the News that no formal meetings have been scheduled, but contact with the U.S. at multiple levels is expected this week to get more information on exclusions.
A Commission spokeswoman would not comment on why the individual items on the list had been chosen, though said that it was still being discussed with European governments.
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