Tuesday, 21 August, 2018

Europe to pursue case against latest U.S. tariffs at WTO

Trump Administration Slaps New Steel and Aluminum Tariffs on Major Allies - Katie Pavlich Reactions to USA Steel and Aluminium Tariffs: "We hope that the USA will Swiftly Reconsider"
Kelvin Reese | 01 June, 2018, 06:58

European and USA equities lost ground slightly on fears the U.S. measures could spark a trade war.

The highly anticipated move was announced Thursday by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who is wrapping up a two-day meeting with European Union officials. "It's not about who attacks whom, and then wait and see who is still standing at the end".

But the tariffs stung particularly in Canada, where Trudeau evoked the history of two countries fighting together from the beaches of Normandy to the mountains of Afghanistan.

This comes at a time when Trudeau and Mr. Trump will encounter each other at the G7 conference of wealthy nations in Quebec in just over a week. Chancellor Angela Merkel dubbed them "illegal".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the European Union would respond in a "firm and united" manner to the tariffs.

"It's not everyone attacking the other and we see who remains standing at the end", he said, declaring that the stiff taxes would be "unjustified, unjustifiable and risky".

EU Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said today the European side is "ready to deal with any kind of scenario, and to defend the EU interests and worldwide trade law".

- The Trump administration has decided that trade negotiations have proven fruitless and will go ahead with imposing tariffs on imported aluminum and steel from Canada, Mexico, and the EU. However, later he granted an exemption to the European Union and other U.S. allies; that reprieve expires Friday.

In 2002, president George W. Bush imposed tariffs on steel imports for much the same reason as Trump-combating cheap imports from other countries-but ended them when the World Trade Organization ruled them illegal.

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The Canadian tariffs, which Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said are proportional to the USA duties, will be applied to United States steel and aluminum as well as consumer products. Malmstrom is meeting US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Paris today among other worldwide trade chiefs. "Trade wars don't have any winners".

"A growing list of tariffs proposed or imposed by our government, as well as the continued uncertainty over the future of Nafta, threatens to undermine the economic progress we have made", Donohue wrote in the memo.

"Obviously, we still hope the United States will think again about this. As we have said, we will always stand up for our workers, and today we're announcing retaliatory measures to this attack on our industry".

Mr Ross said talks had not made enough progress to warrant a further reprieve either for Europe or for Canada and Mexico, which are in negotiations with the USA over North America's free trade agreement.

"To the degree they are able to do a better job or more effective job of controlling transhipments, that certainly is a welcome development and something we would look at". Companies are likely to pass on their higher costs to consumers, experts say.

"Unilateral responses and threats over trade war will solve nothing of the serious imbalances in the world trade. Nothing", French President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday.

Macron further said, "These solutions might bring symbolic satisfaction in the short term...." Growing trade tensions have clouded a benign outlook for the global economy, which is on track to grow at its fastest pace in seven years this year and next, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Meanwhile, the commerce secretary said he plans to go to China for trade talks on Friday, another country with which the US has developed an extremely tense relationship over trade differences under the Trump administration.

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