EU, Japan seek to be excluded from U.S. tariffs in talks

Mar 11, 2018, 00:59
EU, Japan seek to be excluded from U.S. tariffs in talks

The EU wants to find out exactly what mandate he has and precisely what conditions allow exemptions, but it is ruling out any negotiations for US market access. Japan has decried the "grave impact" the Trump measures could have on the world economy.

European trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom met United States trade envoy Robert Lighthizer in Brussels on Saturday for what she described as "frank" discussions which "brought no immediate clarity".

But she warned that if the issue can't be resolved bilaterally or through the World Trade Organization, then "we will have to protect our industry with rebalancing measures".

Lighthizer didn't comment publicly after the meetings.

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"Great discussion today on security and trade. It will all work out!"

French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday warned his USA counterpart Trump against forging ahead with the planned tariffs, saying they risked provoking a mutually destructive "trade war". According to the group, Trump's decision is "undermining the WTO rules and disrupting the worldwide trade order".

Japan, the United States' top economic and military ally in Asia, is among the other nations seeking to join the exemption list.

The EU shares American concerns about overcapacity in the global steel sector, Malmstroem said, but warned "this is not the right way to deal with it". "Our assumption is that the European Union is a whole body and that the US will respect that...otherwise, that is questioning the whole European Union as a project", Ms. Malmstrom told a business forum on Thursday. He was apparently referring to the European Union threats of retaliation.

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Trump signed proclamations Thursday imposing a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum, with the new taxes set to go into effect in two weeks.

The EU insists that it is committed to open, global trade. "The exact nature of the (EU) steps will be decided after a close analysis of the American measures."Separately, Germany's transatlantic coordinator, Juergen Hardt, told Reuters the US government should have exempted its European allies from punitive tariffs imposed against steel and aluminium imports that were primarily aimed at China".

Similarly, the China Iron and Steel Association said that it "strongly opposed" the new levies and asked the Xi Jinping government to take measures in response. The U.S. bought 5 percent of Japan's steel a year ago but just 1.1 percent of China's steel.

He said other countries could be spared if they can convince the administration that their steel and aluminum exports don't threaten American industry.

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