We’ve another example of Donald Trump really not quite getting the right end of the stick over trade. He’s claiming that the European Union was set up to rip off Americans. Nothing could actually be further from the truth – the EU was set up to rip off Europeans. Something it does very well of course which is the very reason not just that we should leave but also that the institution should be thrown into the dustbin of history.
It’s entirely true that many people get this wrong, as The Donald does, but it is still true. All those trade protections protect producers. And they do so at the expense of consumers. Thus the people being ripped off by trade barriers are those huddled within them:
Donald Trump has attacked the European Union, China other nations over trade, threatening to “take on” the bloc and superpower.
Addressing a rally in Michigan, the US president said the EU “sounds so nice” but it was “formed to take advantage of the United States”.
Now it is quite true that the rhetoric here within Europe is that the EU protects us from those beastly Americans. But that’s just the rhetoric, not the reality:
Trump’s new economic threat comes at a time when the 28-nation European bloc is bracing for a potential trade war with Washington. May 1 is the deadline for Washington’s ultimatum to either limit exports to the US or face steep steel and aluminum tariffs.
The people who will lose from those US tariffs are Americans of course. They will have to pay more for anything made of steel and or aluminium. That equally applies to the trade barriers that the EU puts up against imports from around the world. The people made worse off by this are European consumers.
Mr Trump, speaking at a rally in Michigan, pledged to support US farmers and accused Brussels of putting up barriers to trade.
That part’s entirely true, it surely is. But who is it that loses from this? Yup, you and me inside those lovely “protections” the EU so delightfully proffers us. The people who benefit at the producers within the tariff barriers who can all charge us more given that they don’t face that international competition.
Donald Trump tears into EU accusing it of trying to ‘take advantage of the US’ as he hints he will hit the bloc with trade tariffs
As I say, the general rhetoric is that the EU’s trade protections do indeed save us from being steamrollered by those horrible Americans. But what they actually do is rip us Europeans off. We’ve got to pay more for what we buy because we’re not able to buy whatever those things are which the Americans – or other foreigners – make cheaper or better than we do. We’re the people made poorer by EU trade restrictions. Therefore we’re the people being ripped off by the EU, aren’t we?
Thank goodness we’re leaving, eh?