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EU Says It's Counting on Exclusion From Trump Metal Tariffs

EU Says It's Counting on Exclusion From Trump Metal Tariffs

The EU exports around five billion euros' ($4 billion) worth of steel and a billion euros' worth of aluminium to the USA each year, and the European Commission, the bloc's executive arm, estimates Trump's tariffs could cost some 2.8 billion euros.

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

Trump signed proclamations Thursday imposing import tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium products, invoking a rarely used United States law authorizing presidential action against imports that undermine national security.

The tariffs will take effect in 15 days with initial exemptions for Canada and Mexico pending the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

"The loss of exports to the USA, combined with an expected massive import surge in the EU could cost tens of thousands of jobs in the EU steel industry and related sectors", said Axel Eggert, director general of EUROFER, the European steel association.

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The EU has said it has prepared a list of products including orange juice, bourbon, cranberries, peanut butter etc, on which it will impose reciprocal tariffs if needed.

EC trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom, U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer, and their Japanese counterpart are scheduled to hold a trilateral meeting on Saturday in Brussels.

"We have claimed all the time that Europe is certainly not a threat to American internal security so we expect to be excluded", Malmstrom said on the sidelines of a conference in Brussels.

"Everything you have for breakfast", Malmstroem said. The EU intends to hit a range of USA goods with punitive tariffs in retaliation should the bloc face the US import taxes. "And our United Kingdom friends have been crystal clear in working on European unity". The Geneva-based WTO has never ruled on a dispute involving trade restrictions justified on national-security grounds.

Mr Trump has cited national security concerns as the legal basis for the tariffs. "But then what happens when Wilbur Ross or somebody else says 'wait a minute. It's clear, we need clarity to the situation", Katainen said.


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