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giftedviz.com December 11, 2018


Trump presses European Union on trade barriers in tit-for-tat

12 March 2018, 02:15 | Darnell Patrick

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Other countries seeking exemptions from the tariffs will have to make their case through U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, but the president will make the ultimate decision, a senior administration official told reporters Thursday.

The EU and Japan held crunch talks with their United States counterparts in Brussels on Saturday hoping to get "clarity" on President Donald Trump's controversial new steel and aluminium tariffs.

"The European Union, wonderful countries who treat the U.S. very badly on trade, are complaining about the tariffs on Steel & Aluminum", Trump tweeted.

But after two-way talks with Lighthizer, European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem tweeted: "No immediate clarity on the exact United States procedure for exemption however, so discussions will continue next week". He invoked the rarely used Section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act which authorises the Secretary of Commerce to conduct comprehensive investigations to determine the effects of imports of any article on the USA national security. Most of all, both the government and businesses need to minimise negative impact on domestic industries.

"A lot of steel mills are now opening up because of what I did", he said.

Lighthizer made no public comment after the meetings with Malmström and Japanese Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko, which lasted several hours.

The United States was "the steward, the leader, of establishing, of developing a system of global relations, " Norbert Röttgen, an ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel who is the head of the foreign affairs committee of the lower house of Germany's parliament, said at a conference in Brussels.

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"We are an ally, not a threat", European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen said. Tariffs would "seriously impact the normal order of worldwide trade", the Commerce Ministry said.

Trump said the tariffs, which will come into effect after 15 days, will not initially apply to Canada and Mexico.

Complicating matters, Trump indicated that the sparing of Australia was linked to an unspecified "security agreement" outside of trade policy.

Australian steel and aluminum exports to the United States were worth just over A$400 million previous year, government data shows.

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".

The US leader had also added Australia to a list of likely exemptions.

"As a close security and trade partner of the USA, the European Union must be excluded from the announced measures, " Malmström said.



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