European Union retaliates against Trump’s metal tariffs

Cornelia Mascio
Giugno 20, 2018

She said that the response is proportionate and in line with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules and that if the US drops the metals tariffs the European Union will follow suit.

Donald Trump hit the EU, Canada and Mexico with tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum at the start of June, ending exemptions that had been in place since March.

The EU said that if the situation isn't resolved, or if the USA responds with more tariffs, the EU said that it will add additional tariffs on 160 US products worth $4.3 billion.

The European Commission said it would start charging import duties of 25 per cent on products including bourbon, jeans and motorbikes, in response to the USA decision to impose tariffs on EU steel and aluminium at the start of the month.

The retaliatory measure comes in response to United States tariff hikes on steel and aluminum that were imposed on European Union member countries on June 1, with the White House citing grounds of national security. Europeans claim that is simply protectionism and breaks global trade rules.

Trump said the measures against the EU are meant to protect US national security interests, but the Europeans claim it can not be that close allies, many of them North Atlantic Treaty Organisation partners, would endanger USA security.

"The rules of worldwide trade that we have developed over the years with our American partners can not be violated without a reaction from our side", Malmstrom said.

The EU exported some 5.5 million tons of steel to the US past year.

The EU could levy more tariffs of between 10 percent to 50 percent on billions more in USA goods by 2021.

However, experts say the risk that the sides could keep adding tariffs could hurt business confidence, weighing indirectly on the economy. She called the EU's response "measured, proportionate and fully in line with WTO rules".

The tariffs will hit $3.2 billion in USA imports to the European Union. Its biggest target has been China, against which Trump this week ordered new tariffs on $200 billion worth of goods.

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