Published: Thu, June 21, 2018
Business | By Kate Woods

European Union levies tariffs on $3.2B on United States goods over metals duties

The European Union triggered the first phase of retaliation against the USA over its metal-import tariffs imposed on national-security grounds, making good on more than three months of threats to hit American goods with tit-for-tat levies.

This report comes after the European Commission announced it approved initial retaliatory tariffs on USA exports worth €2.8 billion ($3.2 billion).

The EU tit-for-tat tariffs will hit about 200 US products that include steel and aluminum, corn, rice, orange juice, cigarettes, peanuts, cigars, T-shirts, cosmetics and boats.

"However, the unilateral and unjustified decision of the impose steel and aluminum tariffs on the European Union means that we are left with no other choice", Malmström said.

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A separate 10 percent tariff will be imposed on imports of playing cards.

She called the European Union response proportionate and in line with World Trade Organization rules and said that they would be removed if Washington removed its metal tariffs.

"Our response is measured, proportionate and fully in line with WTO rules".

The EU announced its response on Wednesday as the USA and China were locked in a war of words over a threat of an extension of tariffs.

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Other countries hit by the USA tariffs have also retaliated, raising fears of a global trade war.

Brussels first drew up the list in March when US President Donald Trump initially floated the idea of 25 percent tariffs on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminium.

Canada also promised retaliatory tariffs worth $12.8bn on United States products including steel, aluminium, whiskey and orange juice.

Trump has said that the tariffs are needed to protect the nation's national security.

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Together the trade battles have raised the spectre of a global trade war, spooking financial markets that fear major consequences to the world economy.

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