EU opens WTO case against trump steel and aluminium tariffs

The European Union continues countermeasures in response to what he said was Donald trump’s “purely protectionist” and “illegal” decision to impose trade duties on steel and aluminum.

EU opens case at world trade organisation after the US imposed 25% duty on European steel and 10% duty on European aluminium on Friday morning.

“We’re not in the trade war, but we are in a very difficult situation caused by in the United States,” said Cecilia malmström, EU Commissioner for trade. “I wouldn’t use a trade war term, because it has a psychological effect.” But she added: “the US is playing a dangerous game.”

She said that the US claim that tariffs are necessary for national security is unfounded and nothing more “pure protectionism.”

The EU has not yet made a final decision on retaliatory measures on us products, although it has a list of goods that can strike retaliatory tariffs, including classic American products such as Levi’s jeans, Bourbon whiskey, cranberries and peanuts.

The European Commission has stated that it is necessary to conduct consultations with member state diplomats prior to the announcement of the goods to be forwarded. “We have not yet made a final decision, but we will use this list of course,” said Malmstrom.

The final decision is expected within weeks, as officials insisted all member States of the EU in Brussels. “They all feel that at the moment, it is very important to maintain confidence,” said one of the sources of the EU.

In accordance with WTO rules, the EU response can be in effect until June 20 at the earliest, but the list may take a little more time to go through the legislative process in the EU.

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In a dual move, Malmstrom also said that the EU is taking legal action against China to the WTO on “fast and furious” European companies seeking to do business there to disclose their technological secrets. Trump also accused China of stealing intellectual property.

“If the players in the world not to follow the rules of the system could collapse and so we now, as in the United States and China in the WTO,” – said Malmstrom. It shows that we have not chosen any of the parties, we advocate the mutilateral system, based on the rules of world trade”.

The EU’s measures were part of a rapid reaction to the decision of trump described President of France, Emmanuel macron, as an error, and foreign Secretary of great Britain on trade, Liam Fox as “absurd”.

U.S. imports of €3.5 billion (£3.06 billion), the EU steel and aluminum, and officials fear that jobs are at stake, with worse to follow if the confrontation escalates.

Markets shrugged off worries about a trade war, with the main stock indexes in Britain, France and Germany are growing, like in Italy, anti-EU parties failed to form a government, in order to avoid a quick return to the polls, which investors feared. US stocks also rose on better-than-expected employment data in the United States.

The Minister of economy of Germany Peter Altmaier said Friday: “we hope that the European response will entail a process of reflection in the United States.” He said in an interview with German broadcaster ARD that the EU may consider the use of Mexico and Canada, which also suffered from the US tariffs.

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Bernd Lange, the German socialist deputies, the President of the international Committee of the European Parliament on trade issues, said that the tariffs were illegal and insisted the EU would put countermeasures in place, “symbolic products like Harley Davidson to make clear that’s a red card”.

Seeking to slow down the rhetoric, the foreign Minister of the EU Federica Mogherini said: “the European Union is not at war with anyone. We don’t want to be; for us it is not the question … the European Union is a peace project, including on trade.”

The EU has recently announced the official launching of trade negotiations with Australia and last year completed negotiations with Japan.

It acts together with the Minister of foreign Affairs of China Wang Yi, who said that China and the EU were committed to a rules-based multilateral global system. The pair also discussed Iran and North Korea ahead of the summit, EU-China in Beijing next month.

For the kind words, however, Brussels and Beijing remain divided about the heavily subsidized Chinese steel in the conditions of falling world prices. Mogherini acknowledged that “we have some problems”, and the EU will continue to address the problem of overcapacity in China.

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Anthony Scaramucci, a former White house communications Director, said there was always room for negotiation with trump, but he is unlikely to be flattered, and he changed his mind.

Speaking at the program bi-Bi-si Radio 4, Scaramucci, a personal friend of trump, stated that the rates were measures to fix the “uneven and unbalanced” trading system.

“I’m sure there are chips on both sides that can make a bargain to solve the problem,” he said. “There’s always a place in the negotiations with him, but he’s also the man who would walk away from negotiations.”

PA contributed to this report