Published: Sat, March 10, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

EU 'should be excluded' from USA tariffs: top European trade official

EU 'should be excluded' from USA tariffs: top European trade official

Malmstroem said the real cause of the problem is an oversupply on global markets, and she rejected Trump's assertion that the tariffs are needed to protect USA national security, especially when most European Union countries are members of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said that the EU was a close ally of the United States and should also be exempt from metals tariffs.

The EU's top trade official Cecilia Malmstroem and Japanese Economy Minister Hiroshige Seko began preliminary talks in Brussels ahead of the sitdown with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. "The root cause of problems in these two sectors is global overcapacity caused by non-market based production. This go-it-alone action by the USA will not help", she had previously said.

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem met Saturday in Brussels with Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko, before USA trade representative Robert Lighthizer arrived to join them for three-way talks as well as individual discussions with the EU and Japanese trade chiefs. Japan has decried the "grave impact" the Trump measures could have on the world economy.

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"I will immediately draft and introduce legislation to nullify these tariffs, and I urge my colleagues to pass it before this exercise in protectionism inflicts any more damage on the economy", Flake said in a statement. According to Jorge, if the United States declines his proposal, he doesn't rule out the possibility of seeking an appeal before the WTO. Trump said Thursday that countries with a "security relationship" with the United States could push to be excluded.

The EU and Japan previous year formally agreed the broad outlines of a landmark trade deal that was announced as a direct challenge to the protectionism championed by Trump.

Trump cited national security concerns as the legal basis for the tariffs, a permissible reason under WTO rules. "The outcome will only be harmful", he told reporters on the sidelines of an annual meeting of China's parliament.

The target of Trump's ire is China, whose capacity expansions have helped add to global surpluses of steel.

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Brazil, which after Canada is the biggest steel supplier to the USA market, said it wanted to join the exemption list, and Argentina made a similar case. "Trump affirmed that others could receive this privilege", the brief reads. Numerous measures would raise tariffs on US products from politically sensitive areas, such as the home districts of congressional leaders, and would range from motorcycles to bourbon to peanut butter.

The meeting had been previously planned but took on greater importance because of Trump's announcement of a 25-percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports.

South Korea and Australia also said they would seek exceptions.

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