European Union wants exemption from high USA steel tariffs

11 March, 2018, 03:01 | Author: Mable Gonzales
  • A Chinese worker checks aluminum tapes at an aluminum production plant in Huaibei east China's Anhui

After meetings with USA trade envoy Robert Lighthizer in Brussels, EU and Japanese trade officials said negotiations would need to continue.

Seko said he also told Lighthizer that steel and aluminum produced in Japan, which is a U.S. ally, have no negative impact on United States national security.

But, after meetings with United States trade envoy Robert Lighthizer in Brussels today, trade officials said there had been no progress and negotiations would need to continue. "Big Deficit. If not, we Tax Cars etc. FAIR!"

The duties of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum have stung the EU, along with other major partners including Japan, and European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem said earlier Washington had failed to clarify how its allies could be spared.

European Union trade chief Cecilia Malmstrom said she's still in the dark about whether the bloc will be let off the hook from planned US tariffs after "frank" but ultimately fruitless talks with her American counterpart in Brussels on Saturday.

Malmstroem said in a statement that she had a "frank" discussion with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer about the steel tariffs, insisting that "the European Union must be excluded" because it is a close U.S. ally.

Lighthizer made no public comments following the Saturday talks.

Brussels immediately asked for an exemption and threatened countermeasures on US-made goods if rejected.

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European Union and Japanese officials are now pushing for them to be included in the exclusions.

With tensions at a peak, the European Union had sought to keep low expectations for any breakthrough on Saturday.

Previously, EU Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen sought to manage expectations of the Saturday summit, saying it was "a meeting, not THE meeting" on tariffs, with talks set to continue next week.

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.

Germany - singled out for particular criticism by Trump - accused Washington of protectionism, calling the tariffs an "affront to close partners".

French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday warned his USA counterpart Trump against forging ahead with the planned tariffs, saying they risked provoking a mutually destructive "trade war". He also added Australia to the list of likely carve-outs.

Complicating matters, Trump indicated that the sparing of Australia was linked to an unspecified "security agreement" outside of trade policy. He added that the materials contribute to USA industries and employment. When Trump unveiled the new tariffs on Thursday, he exempted Canada and Mexico.

Brussels is also looking at "safeguard" measures to protect its industry - restricting the bloc's imports of steel and aluminum to stop foreign supplies flooding the European market, which is allowed under World Trade Organization rules.

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