March 7, 2018 8:21 pm
Updated: March 8, 2018 5:04 pm

From juice to jeans to Harleys: EU planning death by a thousand tariffs for U.S.

WATCH ABOVE: Trump not worried how tariffs will hurt vote in swing states


U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to sign a document to establish tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum into the United States on Thursday.

There is talk that Canada and Mexico may get special “carve-outs” to avoid what is expected to be a 25 per cent tariff on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum.

READ MORE: What could tariffs, trade war do to Canadians’ money?

While Canada may be exempt from Trump’s plan, the European Union is unlikely to share its fate.

WATCH: White House says ‘potential carve-outs’ for Canada, Mexico on tariffs

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The European Union seems to be considering similar retaliatory measures to the last time the Americans went down this road.

George W. Bush made a similar move in 2002, when he imposed a tariff on steel, and within a year, he was forced to backpedal after the EU targeted oranges among other things.

“When the WTO ruled that Europe could retaliate, they were allowed to put a similar value of tariffs on any goods they wanted,” Walid Hejazi, an associate professor of international business at the University of Toronto, told Global News.

“They chose oranges, because they come from Florida. They chose exports that come from the U.S. swing states, that are really, really close in an election.”

READ MORE: Canada’s tariff strategy is ‘waiting to see’ what Trump actually does, Trudeau says

The EU seems to be prepared to take a similar tact this time as it will target industries in America’s heartland as the U.S. closes in on midterm elections in 2018.

WATCH: Trudeau says Canada will ‘wait and see what the President actually does’ on steel and aluminium tariffs

The retaliatory list of industries the Europeans are ready to target include Levi’s jeans, bourbon whiskey and Harley Davidson motorbikes, corn, oranges and other agricultural products, Bloomberg News reports.

“Certain types of bourbon is indeed on the list as is other items, such as peanut butter and cranberries, orange juice, etc.,” EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told a news conference in Brussels.

Other products that have been mentioned for possible tariffs include bed linens and chewing tobacco.

READ MORE: Global stocks slump after Donald Trump’s key adviser quits; fuels trade war fears

Trump spokesperson Sarah Sanders avoided answering directly when asked whether she was concerned whether her boss would create political damage if he went ahead with the tariffs.

“The president is prepared to protect our country. That is the No. 1 priority he has as president, to protect our economic and national security interests and that’s exactly what he is doing.”

WATCH: Paul Ryan tells Trump to slap tariffs on China instead

The list of potential tariffs appear designed to also affect the home states of many top U.S. political leaders including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

READ MORE: Paul Ryan urges Donald Trump to target steel tariffs to avoid ‘unintended consequences’

Harley Davidson is based in Wisconsin which is also Ryan’s home state. The state is also the top U.S. producer of cranberries.

McConnell’s home state is Kentucky which would also be stung by a tax on bourbon whiskey whereas Levi’s is based in California where Pelosi is based.

While Trump believes the U.S. will come out ahead in a trade war, Malmstrom does not share his view.

“A trade war has no winners,” Malmstrom said.

*With files from Global News Tania Kohut and The Associated Press

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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