President Trump on Wednesday turned his trade-war sights on the European Union, where U.S. exports topped $300 billion for the first time in 2019, enroute to the third straight record.
Should Trump impose tariffs, and should the European Union return fire, as avowed Wednesday during the 50th annual World Economic Forum retreat in Davos, Switzerland, the easiest large targets would be the aviation industry, the oil industry and the automotive industry.
The health care industry would be an easy target as well.
Should the Europeans decide to attack in a similar fashion to the Chinese when they retaliated, targeting industries that might not be as large but are important to states key to President Trump’s re-election, one easy target would be the citrus industry.
And that means Florida, the nation’s third-largest state, which is critical to both Trump’s chances as well as his ultimate Democratic Party challenger’s chances to win the White House later this year.
Florida’s citrus industry sits smack dab in the middle of the state, north of the largely Democratic part of the state, home to Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach, and south of the largely Republican part of the state, which is more rural but home to Jacksonville and Pensacola.
Orlando and Tampa are in the central part of the state, the so-called I-4 corridor where statewide Florida elections are often decided.
Sussing out the advantages and disadvantages to each side aren’t straightforward but the European Union, like the Chinese, have an overall economy that is underperforming relative to the U.S. economy.
The calculus for Trump, of course, includes his re-election efforts.
Fresh off wins, albeit relatively minor ones, in deals struck on the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement and Phase One of the China deal, and embroiled in an impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate, Trump wouldn’t want to see the high-flying stock market pivot southward at this point nor would he want the unemployment rate to tick up.
Here is a look at the top 10 U.S. exports to the European Union through the first 11 months of 2019, the latest U.S. Census Bureau data currently available: