The European Union has set out plans to retaliate against the US plan to impose a 25 per cent import tariff on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum.
The College of Commissioners discussed Wednesday the EU’s response to the possible US import restrictions for steel and aluminum that President Donald Trump announced on March 1.
The European Commission said in a statement that it “stands ready to react proportionately and fully in line with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules in case the US measures are formalised and affect EU’s economic interests”.
The College gave its political endorsement to the proposal presented by President Jean-Claude Juncker, Vice-President Jyrki Katainen and Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström.
Speaking after the College meeting, Commissioner Malmström expressed hope that as a security partner of the US, the EU would be excluded from the new tariff. She said the European Union has made it clear that if a move like this is taken, it will hurt the European Union. It will put thousands of European jobs in jeopardy and it has to be met by firm and proportionate response.
Malmstorm warned that “Unlike these proposed US duties, our three tracks of work are in line with our obligations in the WTO. They will be carried out by the book”.
According to her, the root cause of the problem in the steel and aluminium sector is global overcapacity. It is rooted in the fact that a lot of steel and aluminium production takes place under massive state subsidies, and under non-market conditions.
The EU trade chief offered an olive branch to Washington to continue working on this together with the United States.
Earlier, at a joint White House news conference with the visiting Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, US President Donald Trump threatened to impose a 25 per cent tax on import of cars from Europe if the European bloc retaliates on its decision to impose a 25 per cent import tariff on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium.