Israel Rafalovich | As all signs point to a trade war with the United States, should the US impose tariffs on EU steel and aluminum, the European Union has decided to immediately activate balancing measures as an alternative to US tariffs which are intended to take effect on Friday June 1st. The European Commission’s course of action will also depend on the nature and the severity of the US measures imposed on EU exports and the damage it will cause to the European Union industry. The list of US export products the EU has already prepared are subject to a potential 25% tariff, amounting to around 2.8 billion euros, the equivalent of European steel and aluminum affected by US tariffs of 25% and 10% respectively on these metals.
The European Commission has also prepared safeguard measures which will protect the EU industry. These measures include restricting the imports of steel and aluminum to the EU in order to stop foreign supplies flooding the EU market. The European Commission is also in contact with other countries to build a coordinated response to the United States decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium. EU sources said the countries the European Commission is in contact with include Canada, Brazil, South Korea, Japan, Australia and Turkey. The EU sources have pointed out that the EU will be ready to go it alone should it be necessary.
The United States is not planning on extending the EU exemptions from steel and aluminum tariff’s.
Announcement is expected today in Washington, DC before or after the markets close.
Any U.S. announcement will include the language that “all decisions are subject to further negotiations.”
This leaves open the possibility that the countries could have some maneuvering space to avoid duties.
EU Chief Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said on Wednesday after meeting with US Commerce Secretary
Wilbor Ross on the side line of a conference is Paris: “Hopefully we will be able to have a positive agenda with the US side, with no tariff’s or quotas.”