European Union to impose measures against 'unacceptable' USA metal tariffs

31 May, 2018, 19:29 | Author: Manuel Hopkins
  • Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross hints a trade war could be the result of new EU privacy laws given that the regulations include'unnecessary barriers to trade. If that happens it would be an additional front in a global trade war the President Donald Trum

Through the first three quarters of 2017, the US ran a relatively minor trade deficit with Canada of about a half-million metric tons, according to Department of Commerce data.

The Trump administration made good on threats to impose tariffs on some of the nation's closest allies Thursday, announcing it will no longer exempt Canada, Mexico and the European Union from previously announced levies on steel and aluminum.

Qualtrough said the federal government is working to remind its USA counterparts of this, and said there are contingency plans in place.

"Should restrictions be imposed on Canadian steel and aluminum products, Canada will take responsive measures to defend its trade interests and workers", Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said in March.

"Mexico reiterates its openness to constructive dialogue with the United States, its support for the global commerce system and its rejection of unilateral protectionist measures", it said.

Immediately after the news broke, representatives of Europe's aluminum industry called for a strong reprisal at the WTO. Mexico said it would penalize US imports including pork bellies, apples, grapes, cheeses and flat steel.

Exports: About half of Canada's production is exported, mostly to the U.S.

South Korea also received a permanent exemption from steel tariffs, having negotiated instead an absolute quota equivalent to 70 percent of 2015-2017 imports.

There had been a temporary exemption granted on the 25pc levy on steel and 10pc on aluminum for the European Union and others. "It's not that we can't talk just because there's tariffs".

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"Throughout these talks, the U.S. has sought to use the threat of trade restrictions as leverage to obtain concessions from the EU", Malmstrom continued in a statement.

Mexico responded to US steel and aluminum tariffs by imposing wide-ranging "equivalent" measures on farm and industrial products, the economy ministry said on Thursday, ratcheting up tensions during talks to renegotiate NAFTA.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross attended meetings at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris on Wednesday, and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer joins discussions in Paris on Thursday. Given the delicate nature of these issues, which have vast implications for Mexico and Canada's economies, Trump's saber rattling may hurt more than help according to Alden.

"If any of these parties does retaliate, that does not mean that there can not be continuing negotiations", Ross said.

Ross said retaliatory measures by Canada and Mexico won't affect the NAFTA talks.

"There is potential flexibility going forward", Ross said.

Macron also proposed to start negotiations between the USA, the EU, China and Japan to reshape the World Trade Organization to better regulate trade.

Stephanie Segal, deputy director of the Simon Chair in political economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said Washington's many about-faces meant consensus in the near-term was an increasingly dim prospect.

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