European Union to respond to USA tariffs within 90 days if not exempt

EU ready for a 'stupid' trade war if Trump follows through with tariffs

Germany has called for multilateral talks to address overcapacity in the steel sector and said it supports the European Union plans to respond if Mr Trump presses ahead with the tariffs.

But U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to sign on Thursday or Friday a proclamation to establish tariffs on steel and aluminium imports. "We will have to protect our industry with rebalancing measures, safeguards", she said.

Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries said the European Union will "be ready to react appropriately. We work together. We can not possibly be a threat to national security in the USA, so we are counting on being excluded", she said.

The EU's trade commissioner says there is "no immediate clarity" from the U.S. on how the bloc can gain exemption from new tariffs on imported steel and aluminium imposed by President Trump. "There are some countries in the world that do not necessarily respect the World Trade Organisation agreements, and which impose technology transfers".

Germany's Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries has said US President Donald Trump's proposed steel tariffs "offends" Germany.

European industry associations called on Malmstrom to react to the tariffs.

The WTO said Wednesday that, so far, 18 members - including China, Australia, Brazil, the EU, India, Japan, Norway and Russian Federation - have expressed concerns about Trump's proposed tariffs.

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Japan's Seko said he also had expressed concern to Lighthizer and warned of major market disruption.

Trump has said Canada and Mexico are exempt for now, and other countries could be spared if they can convince the administration their steel and aluminum exports don't threaten American jobs and industry.

Within minutes of Trump's announcement, U.S. Republican Senator Jeff Flake, a critic of the president, said he would introduce a bill to nullify the tariffs. He also added Australia to the list of likely carve-outs. China accounts for only a small fraction of USA steel imports, but its rapid rise to produce half the world's steel has helped create a global glut that has driven down prices.

China's steel and metals associations urged the government to retaliate, citing imports from the United States ranging from stainless steel to coal, agricultural products and electronics.

All this strengthens the risk of trade wars and their consequences - the last thing Europe needs.

On the other hand, Brazil's Acting Trade Minister, Marcos Jorge, said that his office is setting up a plan "to exclude Brazil from this measure".

By contrast, Holger Bingmann of exporters' association BGA warned that "the European Union may now take steps we wouldn't want. we call urgently for level-headedness".

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