EU, Japan seek to be excluded from U.S. tariffs in talks

11 March, 2018, 01:09 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • President of the European Commission Jean Claude Juncker said Friday

Trump said Canada and Mexico are exempt for now, and other countries could be spared if they can convince the administration that their steel and aluminum exports don't threaten American jobs and industry.

"Given the circumstances, during the visit of US Ambassador Lighthizer to Brussels this Saturday, the EU will convey the message that we expect the EU to be fully excluded from the US measures without preconditions or negotiations", a European Commission source said ahead of the talks on condition of anonymity.

Brussels has gone the furthest in fighting back against Washington's shock measures, loudly announcing a list of USA products to hit with countermeasures if its exports are affected by the tariffs.

"Dialogue is always the prime option of the European Union", Malmstroem told reporters on Friday, saying Brussels was "counting on being excluded" from the new duties.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (L) and Japan's Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko take part in a meeting with European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom to discuss steel overcapacity, in Brussels, Belgium March 10, 2018.

"We call for calm-headed behaviour", Seko said.

The EU's top trade official said the United States failed on Saturday to provide full clarity on how Europe could be spared from Washington's controversial steel and aluminium tariffs, but said talks would continue next week.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that no one will win a "race to the bottom" and said the tariffs risked "hurting everyone".

Trump imposed the tariffs despite pleas from friends and allies who warned the new measure could ignite a trade war. He also added Australia to the list of likely carve-outs.

Mr Trump justified his move by invoking a rarely used USA law authorising presidential action against imports that undermine national security. "Big Deficit. If not, we Tax Cars etc. FAIR!" But she has also vowed to press ahead with countermeasures, in line with World Trade Organisation rules, if the tariffs are imposed.

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.


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