European Union calls for industry input on United States tariff retaliation list

Global tradeA lose-lose trade war looms between America and China

The European Union is proposing new tariffs on US agriculture, textile, tobacco and a host of other products in response to the Trump administration's plan to impose tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum.

Though China produces and exports the majority of the world's steel, 10 percent of the steel imported by the United States - the world's largest steel importer - is produced by European Union member nations.

Cecilia Malmstrom, the EU's top trade official, will next week meet senior United States officials, including commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, as the clock ticks down towards the activation of the punitive United States tariffs on March 23rd.

The 10-page list includes hundreds of products imported from the United States to the European Union, including cigarettes, whiskey, corn, yachts and kitchen furniture.

The European Commission published a draft list of United States imports to be targeted for retaliatory tariffs, ranging from whisky, to motorbikes, to tobacco.

Some of the products, worth 2.8 billion euros, could be subject to duties within months. A second round of tariffs on a different group of products would be triggered should the World Trade Organization approve Trump's metal tariffs.


The U.S. has run a significant trade deficit with Europe for many years. According to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, a year ago the United States imported 36,000 tonnes of steel from Serbia, 32,000 tonnes from Slovenia, 12,000 tonnes from Macedonia and 2,000 tonnes from Croatia.

European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström called the prospects of USA steel tariffs "deeply unjust".

It would notify the World Trade Organization (WTO) of potential counter-measures by May 23, or within 60 days of US tariffs coming into force.

However, the countries in the Balkan region will also be hit by new tariffs.

"The 28 nations in the European Union produce 10% of the world's steel", CNN noted.

The EU disputes Trump's line on tariffs and his emphasis on cars, for which the USA tariff, at 2.5 percent, is lower than the EU's 10 percent.

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