>> It's totally unacceptable.>> Totally unacceptable.>> Canada, Mexico, and the European Union are all facing the prospect of a global trade world against their own ally, the United States which has slapped steep import tariffs on steel and aluminum. But as they retaliate with their own tariffs worth billions of dollars, the EU may have a hard time keeping its member states in a unified front.
>> We have been very clear about the consequences of doing this. And we are expecting everybody to play by the rules.>> The EU says the door is closed on negotiations. It's tough talk, but some EU members will have different priorities. At the least, it could weaken their response, but it could also allow an opening for Trump to divide and conquer.
Germany may be the best example, so far, Trump's only targeted those steel and aluminum imports. And Germany's massive auto industry has been left untouched for now. Last month, however, the White House heavily hinted that foreign cars might be its next target, like BMW, Mercedes, and Volkswagen. So Germany could stand to lose a lot more if this ramps up than, say, France.
Which sells almost no cars to the States, and has much less of a trade imbalance overall. Britain likewise has its own problems as it prepares to leave the EU. It was looking to open up more trade with the US, not less, after Brexit. But its steel industry has gone through a turbulent last couple of years.
And this hasn't helped, not to mention Britain's own auto exports like Jaguar and Land Rover. In theory, the Europeans can't splinter completely from each other. They're all bound by the EU charter to present themselves as a unified trade market. So even though Trump has long sought new one-on-one deals with its members, trade war or not, that goal is still probably too far.