EU Expects US Tariff Exclusion, Could Hit Back In 90 Days

EU Expects US Tariff Exclusion, Could Hit Back In 90 Days

Along with a huge range of steel products, the EU's hit list of flagship American products lined up for counter measures includes peanut butter, bourbon whiskey and denim jeans.

U.S. President Donald Trump signed an order on Thursday to set import tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, to come into effect in 15 days.

Juncker, who on Wednesday met Lakshmi Mittal, the boss of the world's top steelmaker ArcelorMittal, said last week the EU would "react firmly" to protect European industry.

Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries said the European Union will "be ready to react appropriately".

Brazil, which after Canada is the biggest steel supplier to the US market, said it wanted to join the list.

Earlier, the EU's trade commissioner confirmed that the EU's counter-measures would include tariffs on US steel and agricultural products, as well as other products like bourbon, peanut butter, cranberries and orange juice.

President Donald Trump said Saturday he would spare the European Union his steel and aluminum tariffs if the bloc halts its own trade barriers to United States products, in his latest round of economic hardball.

Malmstrom told reporters the European Union was ready to complain to the World Trade Organization, and retaliate within 90 days.

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.

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European steel and aluminium associations warn that United States tariffs could cost their sectors thousands of jobs.

"The loss of exports to the US, 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.

Announcing the tariffs, Trump said Canada and Mexico would be excluded and other countries could negotiate exemptions, but he singled out Germany for particular criticism.

Japan's government has warned the measure could hurt its economic relations with the U.S. But ahead of Saturday's talks, Seko also cautioned that "falling to exchanges of unilateral measures will not be in the interest of any country", according to the Kyodo news agency.

Within minutes of Trump's announcement, U.S. Republican Senator Jeff Flake, a critic of the president, said he would introduce a bill to nullify the tariffs. The tariffs would "seriously impact the normal order of global trade", the Ministry of Commerce said.

Argentina accounts for just 0.6 per cent of US steel imports and 2.3 percent of its aluminum imports.

Mr Seko called for calm-headed behaviour in the dispute.

"At least in the near term, prospects for German industry have never looked rosier", economist Carsten Brzeski of ING Diba bank said after official data showed industrial production held steady in January.