The US president once again attacks on the commercial front. First of all, against France, and thus against Italy as well. The threat comes from London, where the NATO summit is currently taking place, and to which the US president should be participating. The statement made by Robert Ligthizer, Secretary of commerce, are what concerns the Old Continent. The executive complained about the Web Tax, the tax imposed on internet giants such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon. So, Trump decided to fire back and cause concern for Italy’s luxury products by threatening to impose a 100% duty on them. At the same time, negotiations with Beijing have taken a turn for the worse.
France’s government had introduced a 3% quota on the earning made by digital services providers last July. Italy’s government had added the same type of measure in the upcoming economic statement presentation: which will be active starting in 2020. “The United States will react to counter the web tax issuance”, said Ligthizer, who, as reported by rainews.it, has threatened to impose punishing tariffs up to 100% on 2.4 billion USD of products imported from France. By doing so, he sent a message to Italy too, and to other countries of the European Union that are thinking of imposing similar measures, such as Austria.
Concerns for Italy’s luxury items
The threats made by the Commerce Secretary to our northern neighbors would include about 63 product categories among which are cheeses, wines, porcelain and leather goods. “We are sorry to hear about the unilateral position that was taken – commented the president of Conseil National du Cuir, Franck Boehly, to press agency AFP -. The quality of the leather industry, and in particular, of leather goods, is widely known all around the world, especially in the United States. The US are a lively market for French luxury products. At the same time, they only account for 12% of leather goods’ exports”. According to recent data, France exported leather products towards the USA for a value of 551.4 million euro, 13% more than in 2017. Trump met with France’s president Emmanuel Macron throughout the last few days. According to what reported by French portal rtl.fr, the two individuals also discussed this matter. “It’s a small dispute and we will be able to surpass it”, stated Trump. The optimism was confirmed by macron’s words: “I believe we will be able to find a solution together”.
China becomes more complicated
While Trump’s messages to France cause concerns to Italian luxury goods, the White House can’t seem to get ahead of the negotiations with China. According to Reuters, the long-awaited resolutions isn’t here yet. The two counterparts of the Trade War are still sitting at the negotiations’ table. Peace signs were expected to arrive by the end of the year, but they haven’t arrived just yet. China asks, in order to reach an agreement, the removal of all tariffs already in existence. But Washington isn’t letting go: if it quits now, it would give up its only strong negotiating powerplay. The end of the tensions was expected by the end of November. In the best-case scenario, it will arrive in 2020.