The beginning of a trade war? US hits EU with 25 pct tariff on steel and 10 pct tariff on aluminum imports | EU reacts

Sorin Melenciuc 31/05/2018 | 17:10

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports from the EU, Canada and Mexico would go into effect at Friday midnight, according to Reuters. In response, the European Commission will launch a case at the World Trade Organization against the new import tariffs imposed by US on EU steel and aluminum.

“We look forward to continued negotiations, both with Canada and Mexico on the one hand, and with the European Commission on the other hand, because there are other issues that we also need to get resolved,” Ross told reporters.

The US official offered little detail about what the EU, Canada and Mexico could do to have the tariffs lifted.

The standoff between EU and US could tip toward a trade war after Trump launched another national security investigation into car and truck imports that lead to new US tariffs.

UPDATE: The European Union will launch a case at the World Trade Organization against the US’s decision to put new import tariffs on EU steel and aluminum, Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said in a statement.

“The US has sought to use the threat of trade restrictions as leverage to obtain concessions from the EU. This is not the way we do business, and certainly not between longstanding partners, friends and allies,” Malmstrom said.

“The EU’s response will be proportionate and in accordance with WTO rules. We will now trigger a dispute settlement case at the WTO, since these US measures clearly go against agreed international rules,” she added.

EU will also impose rebalancing measures in order to protect the EU market from trade diversion caused by the US restrictions, according to the EU commissioner.

In March, Trump administration imposed a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum, but granted temporary exemptions to the EU, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Australia and Argentina.

The European Commission said the bloc should be permanently exempted from the tariffs since it was not the cause of overcapacity in steel and aluminum.

The Commission has also said that the EU will set tariffs on EUR 2.8 billion of US exports, including peanut butter and denim jeans, if its metals exports to the United State worth EUR 6.4 billion are subject to tariffs.

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