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Trump has pledged that Mexico will pay for the wall, which could cost up to $21.5 billion. The picture shows a section of the  wall separating Mexico and the US, in Tijuana, Mexico.
Trump has pledged that Mexico will pay for the wall, which could cost up to $21.5 billion. The picture shows a section of the  wall separating Mexico and the US, in Tijuana, Mexico.

US Warned of EU Punitive Tariffs

German official says trade wars in the past had already shown that both sides only lost from such measures

US Warned of EU Punitive Tariffs

Europe should impose punitive tariffs on imports from the United States if President Donald Trump acts to shield US industries from foreign competitors, a senior ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a newspaper interview.
At the same time, Mexico has also warned the US against imposing a unilateral tax on Mexican imports to finance a border wall, saying it could respond in kind. 
Trump has already formally withdrawn the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, distancing America from its Asian allies, and vowed to renegotiate the US free-trade deal with Canada and Mexico, Reuters reported.
The tycoon-turned-president has also threatened German carmakers with a border tax of 35% on vehicles imported into the US market, saying such a levy would help create more jobs on American soil.
“If Donald Trump imposes punitive tariffs on German and European products, then Europe should also impose punitive tariffs on US products,” Volker Kauder, parliamentary floor leader of Merkel’s conservatives, told the Funke media group in an interview published on Saturday.
“We cannot accept everything,” Kauder added. He said German officials would have to remind “our friends in Washington” that trade wars in the past had already shown that both sides only lost from such measures.
“We just have to say calmly and with self-confidence: If Trump carries out what he said, then Europe must react,” Kauder said.
The German government has vowed to protect global free trade after Trump threatened protectionist measures and his top adviser on trade accused Germany of exploiting a weak euro to boost exports.
German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has suggested that the European Union should refocus its economic policy toward Asia, should the Trump administration pursue protectionism.
In a sign of already shifting trade flows, China became Germany’s most important trading partner for the first time in 2016, overtaking the United States, which fell back to third place behind France, data showed on Friday.

  Mexican Warning
Mexico’s Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said Friday that the government could place tariffs on selected goods from US states reliant on exports to Mexico, BBC reported.
He warned the US against imposing a unilateral tax on Mexican imports to finance a border wall, saying it could respond in kind. 
Earlier, US President Donald Trump vowed to start building the wall “soon, way ahead of schedule”.
The US government says it will start accepting design proposals next month. The US Customs and Border Protection Agency says it will ask companies to submit proposals “for the design and build of several prototype wall structures” on or around March 6.
A shortlist of the best designs will be drawn up by March 20, after which bidders will be asked to cost their ideas.
Addressing the Conservative Political Action Congress in Maryland on Friday, Trump vowed to always put American citizens first and build a “great, great border wall”. “We’re building the wall,” he said. “In fact it’s going to start very soon. Way ahead of schedule. It’s way, way, way ahead of schedule.”
Trump has pledged that Mexico will pay for the wall, which could cost up to $21.5 billion, according to Reuters, which cited a Department of Homeland Security internal report. The figure is much higher than Trump’s estimated price tag of $12 billion.
The president has proposed to levy a 20% tax on Mexican imports to pay for a border wall.
In a radio interview on Friday, Videgeray said that “Mexico believes in free trade”, but “would have to respond” if the US tried to fund a border wall by imposing a tax on Mexican imports. “What we cannot do is remain with our arms crossed,” he said.
“Mexico will face this as a reality and not just as a rhetorical threat because we have realized that rhetorical threats come and go.”
According to reports, the foreign minister has previously identified states including Iowa, Texas and Wisconsin as possible targets for retaliatory tariffs.
Mexico is by far the top destination for Texan exports, with goods worth $92.4 billion exported there in 2015, according to the US Department of Commerce.
The wall is a sensitive political subject in Mexico. President Enrique Pena Nieto cancelled a trip to meet Trump last month over the dispute and has said Mexico will not fund the wall.

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