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Can Eurozone Reform Help Contain Trump?

The Trump administration knows that a key source of US economic leverage is the dollar’s role as the world’s dominant reserve currency. Countering America’s disproportionate power to destabilize the global economy thus requires reducing the share of international trade conducted in dollars.

BRUSSELS – US President Donald Trump is using economic warfare to pursue his foreign-policy objectives. In August, his administration announced that it would double tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Turkey, in order to pressure the Turkish authorities to release an American pastor detained for two years on espionage charges. At the beginning of next month, the United States will also ratchet up unilateral sanctions against Iran.

The Trump administration knows that a key source of US economic leverage is the dollar’s role as the world’s dominant reserve currency. Countering America’s disproportionate power to destabilize the global economy thus requires reducing the share of international trade conducted in dollars. Can the euro serve as a credible alternative?

The euro is the world’s second-leading currency, but it still lags far behind the US dollar. Two-thirds of all loans issued by local banks in foreign currencies are denominated in dollars, compared to just 20% in euros. Similar proportions apply to global foreign-exchange reserves.

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