Tuesday, February 19, 2019
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Europe prepares provisional measures to safeguard its metal industry against Trump’s tariffs

Europe prepares provisional measures to safeguard its metal industry against Trump’s tariffs

President Donald Trump‘s decision to impose a 25 percent levy on the continent’s steel and a 10 percent duty on its aluminum.

Washington implemented the tariffs on June 1, stating that overcapacity in the metals industry was a national security threat. Malmstrom responded that this was “absurd” and that any overcapacity was not down to European producers.

“We are working very closely with the industry to see whether steel or aluminum intended for the U.S. market is coming to Europe and whether that is affecting the market, dumping prices and so on,” Malmstrom told reporters in Brussels.

“This is an investigation that will probably take until the end of the year before we get the full picture, but as you say, we are seriously contemplating to have provisional measures into place.”

According to Malmstrom, these could come in mid-July but their format “is still in discussion.” “But, I think very soon we will be able to inform you about that,” she added.

Ultimately, the provisional measures could result in new imported tariffs or quotas that would protect EU producers from excessive imports. As a result, these could be imposed on metals from different origins that were due to have been sent to the U.S. but, because of the tariffs, were sent instead to Europe.

The provisional measures are part of a three-step response against Trump’s tariffs. The EU has also launched legal proceedings against the U.S. via the World Trade Organization (WTO) and last Friday presented a set of duties on U.S. products worth $3.2 billion.

Before the U.S. imposed the metal tariffs earlier this month, the EU had proposed a small investment agreement that would reduce tariffs on goods coming from both sides of the Atlantic, including cars. Trump has recently threatened to impose new tariffs on European cars, pointing to the U.S.’s 2.5 percent tariff on imported European cars, while the EU has a 10 percent duty on U.S. cars.

Malmstrom said that despite this difference, the U.S. has higher tariffs on European trucks, shoes and other goods. She also said that talks for an agreement on goods are no longer taking place following the U.S. decision to proceed with the metals tariffs.

The EU and the U.S. economies represent about half of entire world growth and nearly a third of world trade flows.