China seems to be the biggest target, after the U.S. concluded that Beijing’s trade actions have meant a loss of billions of dollars to the U.S. economy, due to the presence of counterfeit goods and pirated software. U.S. tariffs worth $60 billion have therefore been put forward and an additional $100 billion are being studied.
“If it goes too far, then it’s the end of multilateralism,” Katainen told CNBC about the ongoing trade disputes.
“I don’t see this to happen yet,” he added.
In fact, according to Katainen the trade tensions between both the U.S. and Europe have calmed down in the last few weeks.
U.S. President Donald Trump threatened in March to impose tariffs on European steel and aluminium products. The 28-country-bloc responded with its own list of tariffs on U.S. products as a retaliation measure. However, the U.S. decided in the end to temporarily exclude Europe from its metal tariffs, thus avoiding a deterioration in their current trade ties.
“We are negotiating or discussing with the United States…at the moment and things are calming down, at least a little bit,” Katainen noted.
“We don’t know what is the final outcome of these discussions, but the situation is more calm now than it was two weeks ago,” Katainen said.