US might tie import tariff exceptions to Europe’s defence spending

  • Petr Boháček
  • 13.3.2018 10:33

United States Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin hinted in an interview on 9 March that the United States President Donald Trump will consider international security aspects, specifically fulfilling the defence spending commitment by European NATO members, in allowing exceptions to new controversial steel and aluminium import tariffs.

The comment is mainly aimed at Germany that accounts for 3.7% of steel imports to the US and its new coalition agreement avoids mentioning the 2% defence expenditure threshold. The move signals an ongoing attempt to bilateralise foreign relations by the Trump administration, which can give the world superpower a better negotiating position than when dealing with the European Union. The tariffs introduced on the basis of national security were criticised by many key US allies in Europe as well as Japan or South Korea as they have rather a negative security impact on such strategic relationship. Transatlantic relations are thus put under more strain as tension grows between US and European defence industries.

About author: Petr Boháček


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