EU tells Trump to stop tariffs threat
US MOVE ‘BREAKS TRADE RULES’
THE European Union has called on US President Donald Trump’s administration to stop threatening it with tariffs on steel and aluminium, saying it is prepared to discuss trade – but not at gunpoint.
In March, Mr Trump slapped tariffs of 25% on steel imports and 10% on imported aluminium, but granted the 28 EU countries a temporary exemption until June 1.
He also temporarily exempted big steel producers Canada and Mexico, provided they agree to renegotiate a North American trade deal to his satisfaction.
“It’s Europe’s economic sovereignty, and what we are demanding is that we are exempted without conditions or time limits,” said French President Emmanuel Macron in Bulgaria, where EU leaders, including Prime Minister Theresa May, have gathered for a summit with Balkans countries.
Convinced that the move breaks global trade rules, the EU has drawn up a list of “rebalancing” duties worth 2.8 billion euros to impose on US products if it is not permanently exempt. It has vowed not to negotiate under threat.
“I don’t think we have to consider this or that, when it contravenes the laws of international trade,” Mr Macron said.
But he added: “We can improve things, in a peaceful setting.”
The EU rejects Mr Trump’s assertion the tariffs are needed for US national security and sees them as protectionist measures.