- Alex Wong/Getty Images
- During a press conference with President Donald Trump, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said that “increased tariffs will hurt us all in the long run.”
- The comment comes after Trump announced new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports to the US.
- The US is the second-largest destination for Swedish steel.
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven took issue with President Donald Trump’s new tariffs on steel and aluminum during a press conference with the US president standing just a few feet away.
“Swedish prosperity is based on corporation competitiveness and free trade and I’m convinced that increased tariffs will hurt us all in the long run,” Löfven said. “As a Swede, I of course support the efforts of the European Union to achieve trade with fewer obstacles and as few as possible.”
The comments come less than a week after Trump announced that the US will impose new tariffs, which function as a tax on imports, on steel and aluminum and make no exception for close allies such as Canada and the EU. This is particularly worrying for Sweden since the US is the second-largest destination for Swedish steel behind Germany.
In response to Trump’s trade announcement, the EU promised to impose new tariffs including on items such as jeans, bourbon, and motorcycles.
When asked about the EU’s response, Trump took a combative tone.
“The European Union has been particularly tough on the United States, they make it almost impossible for us to do business with them and yet they send their cars and everything else back into the United States,” Trump said. “And they can do whatever they like, but if they do that then we put a big tax on 25% on their cars.”
One of the major fears of industry groups, economists, and lawmakers is that the broad tariffs will result in a trade war, tit-for-tat battle with countries imposing increasingly restrictive trade policies.
Trump appeared unconcerned by the idea of a trade war, echoing a tweet from Friday in which the president said trade wars “are good, and easy to win.”
“When we’re behind on every single country, trade wars aren’t so bad, you know what I mean?” Trump said, referring to trade deficits. “When we’re down by 30 billion, 40 billion, 60 billion, 100 billion, the trade war hurts them not us.”
Despite the tough talk, Trump appeared to soften his stance towards the end of his response on the tariffs.
“We’ll do it in a very loving way, a loving, loving way, they’ll like us better and they’ll respect us much more,” Trump said.