Not a Trade War? EU Will Retaliate if Its Industries Are Affected by US Tariffs

Not a Trade War? EU Will Retaliate if Its Industries Are Affected by US Tariffs
Sputnik/ Aleksandr KondratukEurope20:22 20.02.2018Get short URL



The United States and European Union may find themselves at odds following Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross proposal to introduce substantial tariffs and quotas on steel and aluminum imports. The European Commission signaled that it could retaliate if EU industries are affected.

Although the United States and the European Union are not in a state of trade war, the EU is ready to take measures in case Washington’s actions threaten EU countries’ exports, European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas told a news conference Tuesday.

“We would be taking appropriate measures to defend EU industry and we stand ready to react swiftly and appropriately in case our exports are affected by any restrictive measures by the United States,” he said.

Earlier, the US Department of Commerce proposed to introduce a tariff of “at least 53 percent on all steel imports from 12 countries (Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, India, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam).” Another option envisages imposing “a global tariff of at least 24 percent on all steel imports from all countries.”

In addition, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross offered that a tariff of 23.6 percent be imposed on all aluminum products from China, Hong Kong, Russia, Venezuela and Vietnam, while “all the other countries would be subject to quotas equal to 100 percent of their 2017 exports to the United States.” A tariff of at least 7.7 percent on all aluminum exports from all countries is yet another option, outlined by the Department of Commerce.

The Trump administration is considering imposing trade restrictions on imports of industrial metals to thwart what the White House regards as dumping practices which hit US domestic producers.

The reports are currently under consideration by the US president who is required to make a decision by April 11.

“We have made it clear to the US administration at the highest level that we would be deeply concerned about measures that affect the EU industry,” Schinas highlighted.

On Tuesday, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that the European Union is mulling over a potential response to US plans to impose import duties on steel and aluminum from other countries. In particular, the European bloc may impose its own tariffs on imports of US agricultural products, whiskey and Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

Previously, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel expressed his concern about America’s foreign policies, by saying that the EU member states “no longer recognize our America” in his speech at the Munich Security Conference.

Gabriel criticized Donald Trump’s “America First” approach, stressing that “just pursuing individual national interests” is not appropriate.

“Predictability and reliability are currently goods in short supply in international politics,” the German foreign minister underscored.

In late January, the US imposed trade restrictions on imports of solar cells and washing machines from China and South Korea, which many observers regarded as a beginning of further protectionist policies on the part of Washington.

For its part, China’s Ministry of Commerce signaled in mid-February that it found dumping of styrene imports from the US, Taiwan and South Korea and announced that it would introduce anti-dumping duties of 5-10.7 percent.