World

EU expects exemption from US steel and aluminium tariffs

EU expects exemption from US steel and aluminium tariffs

Malmstrom has a previously scheduled meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Brussels on Saturday and said she would seek further clarity on whether the European Union was going to be included in the tariffs.

Trump signed proclamations Thursday imposing import tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium products, invoking a rarely used USA law authorizing presidential action against imports that undermine national security.

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.

Beyond imposing retaliatory tariffs on US goods, the EU is prepared to file a case at the World Trade Organization against the Trump administration in cooperation with other countries and to introduce "safeguard" measures to prevent steel shipments from other parts of the world to America from being diverted to the European market and flooding it. "But we will also continue our preparatory work on potential rebalancing measures, hoping that we are not forced to use them".

"Everything you have for breakfast", Malmstroem said. Mr Axel Eggert, Director General of EUROFER said "Taking measures to protect the European industry against trade deflection is a matter of life or death for the European steel industry".

European Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness Jyrki Katainen attends a joint news conference with Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek (not pictured), at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, November 8, 2017.




European Commissioner Malmstrom, who coordinates policy for the 28-nation EU, the world's biggest trading bloc, said she stood ready to go to the WTO, the worldwide trade arbiter, to impose the bloc's own safeguards within 90 days.

"We are friends. We are allies. It meant in practice that in the US they lost thousands and thousands of jobs", Katainen said.

"We have been very clear that (the USA decision) is not in compliance with the WTO", she said.

The EU exported about 5.5 million tons of steel to the US past year.

"The loss of exports to the USA, combined with an expected massive import surge in the European Union, could cost tens of thousands of jobs in the European Union steel industry and related sectors", said Axel Eggert, head of steel association EUROFER.


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