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

European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstroem speaks during a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday
Germany backs EU decision to respond to US steel tariffs-spokesman
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11 March, 2018

President Donald Trump's announcement of duties of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminium has stung the European Union, along with other major partners including Japan, whose Economy Minister Hiroshige Seko also attended the talks in Brussels.

South Korea and Australia also said they would seek exceptions.

Trump tweeted on Friday that he spoke with Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull about trade and military cooperation.

"We are an ally, not a threat", he said, rejecting any hint that the bloc's exports threatened USA national security - Trump's justification for imposing the tariffs.

Brussels has prepared a list of USA products to hit with countermeasures if its exports are affected by the tariffs, but says it hopes to join Canada and Mexico in being exempted.

The EU and Japan a year ago formally agreed the broad outlines of a landmark trade deal that was announced as a direct challenge to the protectionism championed by Trump. "In particular, they pale in comparison to the scale and scope of the protectionist policies of President Ronald Reagan's administration in the 1980s", Rodrik wrote on Friday.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday warned his United States counterpart Trump against forging ahead with the planned tariffs, saying they risked provoking a mutually destructive "trade war".

European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen said: "We all have to choose whether we want rules-based trade - which supports rules-based world order - or do we want rule of force, or the rule of the strongest, which we have now seen?"

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"The European Union has made a decision to respond clearly to the USA measures and as the federal government we support this position", government spokesman Georg Streiter told a regular news conference. "Big Deficit. If not, we Tax Cars etc. FAIR!" According to Jorge, if the United States declines his proposal, he doesn't rule out the possibility of seeking an appeal before the WTO.

"As a close security and trade partner of the USA, the European Union must be excluded from the announced measures", Ms Malmstrom tweeted following the meeting.

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.

Malmstrom will meet with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Saturday to discuss steel overcapacity and possible exonerations.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged dialogue and warned that "no one can win in such a race to the bottom". "China would have to make a justified and necessary response", he added.

"This is not a trade negotiation", Katainen said. Trump has championed coal exports as demand from power firms at home weakens.

"We expressed our concern".

Brazil is the United States' No. 2 steel supplier. "We should prevent a trade war situation from excessive protectionism, in which the entire world harms each other", trade minister Paik Un-gyu told a meeting with steelmakers.


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