Trump’s Tariffs to Slam Slovakia?

NETKY.SK • 24 November 2018, 11:47 • 2 min
Trump’s Tariffs to Slam Slovakia?

BRATISLAVA-Slovakia: The world’s largest car producer per person, Slovakia, could be hit hard if U.S. President Donald Trump, carries through with his threat to put a 25 percent tariff (import tax) on autos from the EU, according to the Institute for Financial Policy, a policy forecasting arm of Slovakia’s Finance Ministry.

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Slovakia is the site of plants owned by Germany’s Volkswagen, Slovakia’s largest private employer, as well as France’s PSA and South Korean Kia, as well as 300+ automotive supply companies. Jaguar Land Rover will also open a new plant in September. Together, they provide more than 300,000 jobs in Slovakia, a eurozone country of 5.4m.

 

“The ratio of overseas car exports to Slovakia’s GDP is significantly the highest among all countries of the EU, with it being up to 1.7%,” the IFP saidin the study.

“An increase in customs duties on car imports would have the biggest impact on Slovakia.”

 

International investorsalso say Slovakia could be hit hard, although others project the impact would not bebe so harmful.

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Why Trump Wants Tariffs

 

Trump was elected by many Americans who lost in the globalization game and who have been excluded from politics. They think his “Make America Great Again” agenda will bring back an era when especially white men were more secure in their standard of living and their status in society.   Millions of American factory workers lost their well-paid jobs due to free trade deals that shifted manufacturing to lower wage countries where labor rights are not recognized nor protected.

 

Trump’s recent renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (with Canada and Mexico) mandated $16 minimum wages for workers in the auto sector.  If something similar is applied in Slovakia, it could more than double average workers’ wages at auto some plants, which would have increases on wages nationwide as well as inflation. But it’s not clear Trump wants this.

 

Let’s also look at what Trump wants as no doubt he’s driving for a deal. His “American energy dominance” agenda means more gas and oil exports to Europe, China, and everywhere that benefits his billionaire oil backers like Harold Hamm and Charles Koch.

 

What should Slovakia do

 

What is Slovakia doing to ensure its vital economic industry evades Trump’s trade tantrums? Autos are a strategic sector for the US and Slovakia, so both governments are positioning for positive outcomes.  Don’t depend on Brussels, Berlin, or Paris to protect Slovakia’s economic stability and decide its future.  This sensitive subject deserves deeper discussion in Slovakia, and to be heard in Washington.

 



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