Trump to hold off steel tariffs for European Union, six others: Lighthizer

Sheila Mcguire
March 25, 2018

The European Union's trade chief is unsure what Washington wants in return for a permanent EU exemption from steel tariffs but she warned on Friday that she would resist pressure to cut EU duties on USA cars.

The EU's Moscovici sought to reassure that "these proposals are neither a response to a French request nor a response against the United States".

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told a Senate committee that Trump authorized a "pause" in the imposition of the tariffs, which take effect Friday, while talks are underway to find a more permanent solution.

Macron signaled a readiness to discuss US trade concerns while expressing annoyance at the May 1 deadline on whether the waiver will be prolonged.

"The European Council regrets the decision by the United States to impose import tariffs on steel and aluminium", they said.

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Reporting from the summit, Euronews' Efi Koutsokosta said: "The EU leaders support the EU Commissioner's approach who wants a dialogue with the United States, to see how they can tackle together the steel overcapacity problem".

The leaders also said they supported steps taken by the European Commission to respond to the USA measures "as appropriate and in a proportionate manner".

The EU will unveil proposals for a digital tax on U.S. tech giants on Wednesday, bringing yet more turmoil to Facebook after revelations over misused data of 50 million users shocked the world.

Such a group would confront problems such as unfair Chinese trade practices, overcapacity in the steel market and the screening of foreign investment for security concerns, Ms. Malmstrom said.

Allies should not be subject to "artificial deadlines", she said.

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Macron warned that if Trump does impose the tariffs, the European Union stands ready to pounce.

"But by negotiating through the European Union as a bloc, we've secured a temporary exemption, at least".

"We don't want a trade war, but. we are ready to take countermeasures", said Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, the EU's executive.

It would launch a challenge at the World Trade Organisation, consider measures to prevent a surge of metal imports into Europe and impose import duties on US products to "rebalance" EU-US trade.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Europe was trying to avoid a trade war in which everyone would lose.

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The European Commission said it wanted an interim 3% levy on digital sales revenue of the biggest firms such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon - those with annual global revenues of at least £658m and EU revenues of £44m. "The EU is certainly not negotiating anything under threat, especially when we don't really know what it is". Belgian Prime Minister, Charles Michel, has afeado this Friday to Trump to try to negotiate protectionist measures "putting a gun in temple". "It is a unusual way to negotiate with a partner".

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