We'll drop our tariffs if you drop yours — Trump to EU

11 March, 2018, 01:12 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstroem speaks during a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday

European Union officials said that while they shared US concerns about overcapacity in the steel sector, tariffs were not the answer, and stressed Europe's historic ties to the United States.

Trump has said the tariffs, which will come into effect 15 days after he formally unveiled them Thursday, will not initially apply to Canada and Mexico.

Brussels has prepared a list of USA products to hit with countermeasures if its exports are affected by the tariffs, but says it hopes to join Canada and Mexico in being exempted.

The US president's plan would affect European Union steel exports, valued at €5.3 billion and aluminium exports worth €1.1 billion a year ago, and has opened the door to the prospect of an imminent transatlantic trade war.

European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem made her statement after crunch talks with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in an effort to defuse a bitter row that many fear could turn into an all-out trade war.

The EU and Japan held crunch talks with their USA counterparts in Brussels on Saturday hoping to get "clarity" on President Donald Trump's controversial new steel and aluminium tariffs.


Mr Seko called for calm-headed behaviour in the dispute.

"If they drop their horrific barriers & tariffs on USA products going in, we will likewise drop ours".

After the meeting, Malmstrom tweeted, "No immediate clarity on the exact USA procedure for exemption.so discussions will continue next week". Seko said he believed there was still time for Japan to secure an exemption.

She said discussions would continue next week. "Now we are talking about unilateral action against global rules, and we want to sort it out before it really becomes a problem".

Brussels has already drawn up a hitlist of flagship American products to target for countermeasures if its exports are affected by the tariffs including peanut butter, bourbon whiskey and orange juice. Under World Trade Organization rules, such counter-measures have to be in place within 90 days of the USA tariffs entering force.

The EU has warned that it stands ready to slap "rebalancing" tariffs on about 2.8 billion euros ($3.4 billion) worth of USA steel, agricultural and other products, like peanut butter, cranberries and orange juice.

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