Trump to slap tariffs on steel, aluminum from EU on Thursday

31 May, 2018, 17:43 | Author: Darnell Patrick
  • Commerce Secretary Ross Brings EU to the Negotiating Table with Tariff Threats

Trump first announced tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum for national security reasons in March.

Meanwhile, the commerce secretary said he plans to go to China for trade talks on Friday, another country with which the US has developed an extremely tense relationship over trade differences under the Trump administration.

It says weeks of talks between Washington and Brussels have failed to reach a compromise that would convince Mr Trump to extend an exemption for the European Union from the 25% tariff on steel and 10% on aluminium. But in the case of Canada and Mexico, he said the decision was based on making progress in the ongoing North American Free Trade Agreement talks, and there is no resolution in sight.

"The EU, Canada, and Mexico make up about half of United States steel imports, so the economic effect of these tariffs would be far more than anything we've seen to date", he said. "We continue to work closely with our European Union partners and will consider carefully the EU's proposals in response".

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire called the US tariffs "unjustified, unjustifiable and unsafe".

The move will likely trigger serious retaliation from the three countries and push the United States to the edge of a trade war. "You saw his reaction when China chose to retaliate".


The EU would take "all necessary measures" to respond if the U.S. did impose tariffs, Mr Le Maire warned. But they can also increase costs more broadly for USA manufacturers who cannot source all their needs locally and have to import the materials.

But Macron said those "who waged bilateral trade wars. saw an increase in prices and an increase in unemployment".

The tariffs, which have increased friction with United States trading partners worldwide and prompted several challenges before the World Trade Organization, are aimed at allowing the United States steel and aluminium industries to increase their capacity utilization rates above 80% for the first time in years. NAFTA negotiations are deadlocked over tough protectionist demands from the United States.

The decision, which comes just days after President Donald Trump broke a cease-fire in an escalating trade dispute with China, is certain to inflame relations with the three trading partners and invite retaliation. "It's not about who attacks whom, and then wait and see who is still standing at the end".

Arguing that trade trends "destroyed" American steel and aluminum industries, Mr Trump said: "People have no idea how badly our country has been treated by other countries". We are ready to rebuild this multilateralism with our American friends'.

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