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The last time a trade war happened in the U.S., things didn’t go well for the economy. Will history repeat itself as Trump puts a tariff on steel and aluminum? Here are the facts.
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The European Union announced a 25 percent tariff Friday on U.S. products ranging from motorcycles, to steel, bourbon and jeans in retaliation for President Donald Trump’s tariffs on imports of EU steel and aluminum.

The EU, a bloc of 28 nations, said the tariffs on $3.4 billion in U.S. products would go into effect immediately.

In turn, Trump quickly responded to the European salvo, dashing off a tweeted warning Friday morning that if the EU tariffs and barriers “are not soon broken down and removed” the U.S. will place a 20 percent tariff on all European-built cars coming into the U.S. “Build them here!” he tweeted.

The EU’s retaliatory tariffs, which also included typical U.S. products such as orange juice, cigarettes, chewing tobacco and peanut butter, seemed aimed at putting pressure on politically sensitive groups such as farmers.

Harley-Davidson, notably, is from Wisconsin, the home state of Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, while bourbon is a big product of Kentucky, home state of Senate majority leader, Republican Mitch McConnell.

The list also included playing cards, which will get hit by a 10 percent tariff. Other items: rice, sweet corn, orange juice, chewing tobacco and snuff, eye make-up, rowing boats and canoes.

The EU charges that Trump broke world trade rules June 1 by slapping 25 percent tariffs on EU steel and 10 percent on aluminum.

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said Thursday that the U.S. decision to impose tariffs “goes against all logic and history”.

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“Our response must be clear but measured. We will do what we have to do to re-balance and safeguard,” he said. 

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said this week that the EU was “left with no other choice” but to impose tariffs of its own after the “unilateral and unjustified decision of the U.S.”

The EU, which is the world’s biggest trading bloc, has taken its case to the World Trade Organization. If the organization rules in its favor, or after three years if the case is still going on, the EU plans to impose further tariffs of 3.6 billion euros on U.S. products.

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