Trump to EU: We'll drop our tariffs if you drop yours

Michele Moreno
March 11, 2018

Malmstroem said Trump's announcement was "not crystal clear" and she would seek clarification when she saw US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Brussels on Saturday for long-planned talks that are now a de facto crisis meeting.

Seko said at a news conference following the meeting, "I firmly and clearly expressed my view that this is regrettable". Trump tweeted that he spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, saying they are "discussing opening up Japan to much better trade with the U.S. now have a massive $100 Billion Trade Deficit".

Trump is opening up one-on-one trade talks with countries on the new tariffs, to see if he can win concessions for the U.S.

If the European Union is hit with tariffs, it will be ready to respond within 90 days as prescribed by the World Trade Organization, Malmstrom said.

The EU and Japan held crunch talks with their U.S. counterparts in Brussels on Saturday hoping to get "clarity" on President Donald Trump's controversial new steel and aluminium tariffs.

The EU has become increasingly exasperated with Mr Trump's "America First" agenda, viewing it as a threat to the multilateral trade order that the United States played a leading role in building after the second World War.

Mr Trump signed an order on Thursday to set import tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum, to come into effect in 15 days.

Hiroshige Seko told a news conference Mr Lighthizer had only explained the schedule and procedure of the U.S. actions in talks in Brussels. But he exempted Canada and Mexico and held out the possibility of excluding other allies.

The EU insists that it is committed to open, global trade.

"As a close security and trade partner of the USA the European Union must be excluded from the announced measures", she said.

The EU exported about 5.5 million tons of steel to the USA a year ago.

Foreign steel producers are not only concerned about losing access to the US market but also that steel from other exporters will flood already saturated markets, threatening jobs elsewhere.

The European Steel Association condemned Trump's decision, warning that it "could cost tens of thousands of jobs in the EU steel industry and related sectors".

Other reports by Insurance News

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