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What motivated Donald Trump’s decision to slap tariffs on America’s closest allies? Rana Foroohar writes in her latest column that the US president’s trade actions are similar to a professional wrestling fight — a comic book world where the “good guys” fight the bad ones with no strategy or psychology.

There is no real plan behind these sanctions, Rana says. President Trump is simply playing to his Rust Belt base in the run up to November’s midterm elections. The president is wasting political capital with these sanctions while the real battles lie elsewhere. Technologies such as 5G and 3D printing will be the ammunition in future trade battles, not peanut butter and whisky.

Responding to Trump: our editorial makes the case for why the EU should retaliate in a measured way.

Wolfgang Münchau argues that a lack of reform, not Italy’s new populist government, will break the eurozone.

Simon Wolfson, chief executive of retailer Next, lays out his vision for sensible Brexit destination that follows the Swiss model for goods.

Urjit Patel, of the Reserve Bank of India, says emerging markets face a double whammy from the Federal Reserve’s shrinking balance sheet and US deficits.

What you’ve been saying

British Museum’s loan of artefacts is vital to regions— letter from Hartwig Fischer

Last year, we worked with 126 partner museums across the UK through touring exhibitions, partnership galleries, loans and skill sharing, and lent more than 2,500 objects, far more than any other national museum. Our loans invariably lead to increases in visitor numbers at the receiving institutions, bringing with them extra revenues that are badly needed in the current climate. We estimate that last year more than 9m visitors saw British Museum objects in UK museums outside London, far more than the number of visitors to Bloomsbury. And we are committed to pushing this figure even higher in the years ahead.

Comment from ChocoLeibnitz on Bright young things flock to a withering old profession:

Certain young people still want to work for Deutsche Bank because almost everyone they meet will have heard of it. Even their grandparents probably remember the scene in Casablanca where a bumptious German banker walks in to Rick’s Bar, hands Rick his DB business card and demands the best table. When the banker has been seated, Rick tears his card in to little pieces, almost on a par with the Vichy Water bottle being tossed in the bin later.

Redesigned bottles could make straws obsolete— letter from David Massumi:

Why not get rid of straws altogether? What is wrong with designing bottles or cartons whereby you can drink straight from the mouth of the bottle without spilling it, except for possibly to the profit margin of Tetra Pak? If Tetra Pak has not thought of this, then maybe it can learn from hundreds of variations of sports drinks bottles or from Evian, which in Switzerland has smaller bottles designed as such.

Today’s opinion

Brexit Britain should be a rule-taker on goods, but not services
There is no point in diverging from Brussels regulations for the sake of it

Global activity rebounds as Italy delivers downside shock
China and the US are growing above trend but Italy poses a major risk

Donald Trump picks the wrong trade fight
America should focus on digital innovation rather than squabble over peanut butter

Emerging markets face a dollar double whammy
The Fed must adjust its balance sheet shrinkage to limit the effects of less liquidity

Lack of European reform, not Italy, will break the eurozone
Stop treating the euro as an article of faith and fight for its sustainability

Younger Britons are happy for Britain to be a ‘vassal state’
For many, protecting the economy after Brexit is more important than sovereignty

FT View

FT View: Opportunity is more than a place at Oxford
Those concerned about diversity must look at education broadly

FT View: The EU must respond to Trump’s trade offensive
Proportionate retaliation is the right response to a schoolyard bully

The Big Read

The Big Read: Can Jeremy Corbyn restore Labour’s working class vote?
For more than a century Mansfield’s Pleasley pit supplied coal to the UK and votes to the Labour party. Then in 2017 the area elected a Conservative

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