Bourbon, jeans and motorbikes – the EU’s hit list of tariffs on US goods that have just taken effect

The move comes after US President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.

By AFP

FROM BLUE JEANS to motorbikes and whiskey, the EU’s hit list of products to target for tariffs in the event of a trade war with the US reads like a catalogue of emblematic American exports.

The European Union drew up the list in March but is only activating it today after US President Donald Trump followed through on his threat to impose 25% tariffs on steel imports and 10% on aluminium.

This list was already sent by the EU to the World Trade Organization (WTO) on 18 May, in anticipation of Washington’s decision to go through with the tariffs.

The list does not specifically name brands but European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker spelled out in March that the bloc was “preparing import duties for US products including Harley-Davidson, Bourbon and Levi’s jeans”.

Here are some of the items on the EU’s list:

Steel

Dozens of steel products are targeted, including bars and rods, rolled steel, stainless steel, wire, tubes, chain, pipes and scaffolding, as well as kitchen appliances, ovens, ladders and washbasins.

Clothing and fabrics

Clothing includes “trousers and breeches of cotton denim” – better known as jeans – along with bed linen and men’s leather footwear. Swimwear and underwear are excluded.

Cosmetics

Eye makeup and lipstick are listed – together they accounted for more than €280 million worth of EU imports from the US in 2017.

Transport

Motorbikes and mopeds “with reciprocating internal combustion piston engines” of 500cc capacity and above, which includes most Harley-Davidson models. Boats, yachts, canoes and rowing boats are also on the list.

Food and drink

Maize, rice, cranberries, cranberry juice, orange juice, sweetcorn and peanut butter are among the food products targeted.

The list also covers bourbon whiskey – the EU imported some €415 million worth from the US in 2017, along with another €150 million worth of whiskey without the “bourbon” designation.

Other

Cigarettes, cigars, cheroots – a type of thin cigar – and other types of tobacco are also on the EU’s list.

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