Colorado Editorials

The Colorado Springs Gazette: After months of unrest, U.S. might win the trade war

Author: The Colorado Springs Gazette Editorial Board - July 24, 2018 - Updated: July 24, 2018

Finally, some results.

After more than three months of back-and-forth, the President of the European Commission — an extension of the EU — has arranged to visit President Donald Trump and begin what is sure to be a long series of negotiations. The purpose? To discuss a broad free trade deal that would reduce tariffs on nearly all U.S. and European goods.

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will meet with Trump on Wednesday to bring what has been called “a very important free-trade offer.”

“President Junker and President Trump will focus on improving trans-Atlantic trade and forging a stronger economic partnership,” said a statement from the European Commission.

Another statement came from Germany’s auto lobby group, saying “Generally speaking, we support the reduction of tariffs and other trade barriers when they’re mutually applied and in line with WTO rules.”

Is it too early to sound a victory call?

If Trump’s claims are to be believed, the trade war has always been about obtaining equal and fair trade by repairing a damaged global market. The deal proposed by Juncker seems to accomplish that. A broad-sweeping reduction on tariffs and the establishment of a mutually beneficial free-trade agreement.

Such an agreement would have be in line with the rules of the World Trade Organization.

Short of reducing all auto tariffs for all 164 WTO member nations, the only way the EU can reduce tariffs on the U.S. is to strike a unilateral agreement that covers nearly all trade, thus prompting the U.S. to reduce tariffs set on Europe. Roughly 90 percent of all international trade would be included in this deal, drastically decreasing the number and size of tariffs in place.

If Trump is willing to negotiate and accept such a deal, U.S. companies, workers, and consumers can enjoy lower material costs along with a long-lasting open and equal trade market. Basically, we win the trade war.

The disparaging effects of high tariffs have been known since the colonial days, so Trump took a gamble when he imposed tariffs on European steel and aluminum two months ago. Today, that gamble continues with similar measures threatened for all Chinese goods. But the upcoming meeting with Juncker presents a favorable opportunity, as well as evidence that such a gamble can pay off.

Like playing chicken, Trump bluffed with trade two months ago, and he’s been bluffing ever since.

Now, signs of victory are beginning to emerge, and the president may actually make good on one of his campaign promises.

“We are going to start winning big on trade,” he said.

We’ll have to wait until after Wednesday to see for sure, but it looks like the winning is indeed on its way.

The Colorado Springs Gazette Editorial Board