Trump tariffs will cost UK millions in lost exports
Tariffs imposed by President Trump’s administration on global steel and aluminium imports could lead to yearly export losses of £125 million for the UK, but it will be by no means the hardest hit country.
According to leading trade credit insurer Euler Hermes, global export losses caused by the US decision will reach £5.57 billion with the highest losses being suffered by Canada, Brazil, Russia, China and South Korea.
Canada looks likely to be the biggest single loser, Euler Hermes has calculated, suffering a £1.5 billion loss. In Europe, Germany could be the biggest loser with £300 million in lost exports, while the EU as a whole will lose around £800 million.
Despite these figures, Ludovic Subran, Chief Economist at Euler Hermes, still believes that the risk of a fully-fledged trade war — characterised by a doubling or tripling of the average US tariffs and severe retaliation from the EU, Canada and Mexico — still seems unlikely.
However, he warned, the uncertainty caused by the latest wave of measures combined with tit-for-tat tariffs from other countries threatens the status quo of rules built up over the past 25 years.
The most frustrating aspect of the current disputes is that they are taking place in the context of reasonably healthy global trade figures.
“Encouragingly, global trade is actually doing quite well and rose by around 5% last year,” Mr Subran pointed out. “For the moment, it is outweighing the dampening effects of protectionism measures.”