Donald Trump announced on Saturday that he would agree to drop his taxes on steel and aluminium in Europe if the countries of the United States.
US President Donald Trump said Saturday he would save the EU tariffs on steel and aluminum if it waives its own barriers to US products.
Fees of 25% on steel imports and 10% on aluminium, announced by Donald Trump, are disputed by Europeans and other US trading partners such as Japan, but they have failed to get satisfaction Saturday during talks in Brussels.
“The European Union, wonderful countries that treat the US very badly in trade, complain about the rights on steel and aluminum,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “If they give up their horrible obstacles and tariffs on US products, we will abandon ours, otherwise we tax cars etc. Honest!” , he added.
The Europeans signaled their disappointment Saturday to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who is in Brussels for a long-standing meeting with Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Japan’s Minister of Economy Hiroshige Seko. Mexico and Canada benefit from a waiver of these 25% taxes on steel and 10% on aluminum, and Donald Trump said that preferential treatment is also possible for Australia. Japan, like the European Union, demands to be exempted from US taxes.
“The discussion was frank” but “we did not get immediate clarity on the procedure to be exempted and the discussions will continue next week,” said Malmström in a message on her Twitter account, to the after the meeting that lasted about four hours. “We are a close ally and a trading partner of the United States and the European Union must be excluded from the measures announced by President Trump,” Malmström said again.
The talks also focused on cooperation between the three partners to combat dumping and the problems posed by overcapacity in the iron and steel industry. The Europeans have reported good results on this part of the meeting and hope that their efforts will be taken into account by Donald Trump.
The EU has prepared countermeasures if Donald Trump persists in punishing his steelmakers. The most immediate, applicable in three months, would be to tax heavily, by way of retaliation, some iconic American products – which Brussels has established a list – such as jeans, motorcycles and large peanut butter. The EU is also planning to implement so-called “safeguard” measures to protect its industry from foreign imports of steel and aluminum.
Lastly, it plans to lodge a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO), if it considers that the measures taken by the United States, under the guise of protecting national security, serve only to benefit their businesses. Europe exported in 2017 to the United States for 5.3 billion euros of steel and for 1.1 billion euros of aluminum. Europeans remain united for the moment, but the European Commission fears American initiatives to divide them.
Germany, particularly virulent
” We will not be able to accept that the EU is divided by the US administration,”Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen warned, very explicit to the British, negotiating their departure from the EU . He recalled that “the United Kingdom is still a member of the European Union and that it imposes obligations on it”. The allies and rivals of the United States have denounced since Thursday the net protectionist turn and an attack against free trade.
Germany, one of the biggest exporting countries in the world, directly pointed out by Donald Trump, was particularly virulent, denouncing an “affront” to Washington’s allies. For the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, it is an “abuse”. And the head of diplomacy, Wang Yi, promised an “appropriate response” in the event of a trade war with Washington. China, by far the world’s largest steel producer, is regularly accused of being the cause of overcapacity in the sector, because of its massive subsidies.
The Europeans and the Japanese were not waiting for a decision on Saturday, but they wanted to put pressure on the Americans. French President Emmanuel Macron warned his American counterpart late Friday against the consequences of his decision. “Such measures targeting allied countries, which respect the rules of world trade, would not be effective in fighting (against) unfair practices ,” he said. “Europe will respond clearly and proportionately” to “any unfounded practice contrary to the rules of world trade”, he warned.