...but President Trump is still impacting global trade as Biden inauguration approaches

Thu 7 Jan 2021
Posted by: Noelle McElhatton
Trade News

Despite last night’s violent scenes in Washington DC, US President Trump can still impact global trade in the dying days of his presidency.

Bloomberg reports that he is about to introduce a new 25% tariff against $1.3bn of French products. Soaps, cosmetics and handbags are targeted in retaliation for new French taxes on US digital businesses such as Amazon and Facebook.

Vietnamese companies are also facing possible retaliatory tariffs due to disputes over timber imports and alleged currency manipulation.

Trump's successor as US president, Joe Biden, is due to be inaugurated on 20 January.

Digital trade war

Trump has also continued his trade war with China with an executive order to ban transactions on Chinese payment applications in the US, including Alipay, WeChat Pay and Tencent’s QQ Wallet.

The President justified the action saying the apps “continue to threaten the national security, foreign policy and economy”, the FT reports.

He has previously issued sanctions on WeChat and TikTok, though these were subsequently revoked in the US courts.

Wine on the rack

According to Decanter, new tariffs from 12 January will target French and German wines as well as grape-based spirits like Cognac and Armagnac. The 25% tariffs could cost French wine and spirits exporters more than €1bn in sales in the coming year.

The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) said the tariffs, which also target plane parts, were in response to $4bn of EU tariffs last year.

Observers hope the incoming Biden administration will help restore better US-EU relations.