U.S. to slap tariffs on European Union steel and aluminium

Commerce Secretary Ross Brings EU to the Negotiating Table with Tariff Threats

Commerce Secretary Ross Brings EU to the Negotiating Table with Tariff Threats

Trade tensions between the European Union and the United States have been running high since March when US President Donald Trump introduced a 25-percent tariff on imported steel and a 10-percent tariff on imported aluminum.

Earlier this month, European Union leaders said they were open to discussions on restructuring current tariffs on US goods, but only if they were granted a permanent exemption from steel and aluminum tariffs.

"The EU, Canada, and Mexico make up about half of U.S. steel imports, so the economic effect of these tariffs would be far more than anything we've seen to date", he said.

More details to follow ...

"Take the example of China, the tariffs that we've imposed went into effect on China on the 23rd of March and, as you're well aware, we have continued to have trade negotiations with China", he said.

"By people representing us who didn't have a clue". He also said the administration is eager to stay at the negotiating table with all three countries.

Thursday's action also is expected to complicate USA efforts to confront China over a range of trade practices that the administration regards as unfair.

But European officials are increasingly irritated by Trump's aggressive use of obscure provisions in USA trade laws against US allies. He said he planned to travel to China on Friday for trade talks between the world's two biggest economies. As have been released publicly, those talks are taking longer than we had hoped.

One source close to the NAFTA negotiations said Ms. Freeland informed Mr. Lighthizer that ending Canada's exemption on steel and aluminum tariffs would be a clear signal that the Americans are not that interested in reaching a NAFTA deal.

The Trump administration has given permanent metals tariff exemptions to several countries including Australia, Argentina and South Korea, but in each case set import quotas.

The U.S. plan has raised the threat of retaliation from Europe and fears of a global trade war - a prospect that is already weighing on investor confidence and could hinder the global economic upturn.

"We believe these tariffs aren't compatible with WTO rules", she said in Lisbon.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire had said the tariffs would be "unjustified and dangerous". We are ready to rebuild this multilateralism with our American friends'.

Besides the USA steel and aluminum tariffs, the Trump administration is also investigating possible limits on foreign cars in the name of national security.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, who pushed the steel and NAFTA issues during her meeting on Tuesday in Washington with USA trade czar Robert Lighthizer, has also made it clear that Canada would retaliate if the duties are imposed.

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