Published: Sun, March 11, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

We'll drop our tariffs if you drop yours — Trump to EU

We'll drop our tariffs if you drop yours — Trump to EU

The EU and Japan held crunch talks with their U.S. counterparts in Brussels on Saturday hoping to get "clarity" on President Donald Trump's controversial new steel and aluminium tariffs.

Trump signed proclamations Thursday imposing import tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium products, invoking a rarely used United States law authorizing presidential action against imports that undermine national security.

Seko said at a news conference following the meeting, "I firmly and clearly expressed my view that this is regrettable".

It said it wanted details from Saturday's talks with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Brussels but that it did not expect the meeting to resolve all the problems.

The EU exports around five billion euros' ($4 billion) worth of steel and a billion euros' worth of aluminium to the USA each year, and the European Commission, the bloc's executive arm, estimates Trump's tariffs could cost some 2.8 billion euros.

Lighthizer's meetings with European Union trade chief Cecilia Malmstrom and separately with Japanese Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko were long planned, but they took on added urgency as allies warned the US moves could provoke a global trade war.

"We are an ally, not a threat", Katainen said.

Trump is opening up one-on-one trade talks with countries on the new tariffs, to see if he can win concessions for the U.S.

In talks, the United States should not expect any European Union concessions to win an exemption, European Union officials said.

The EU is still seeking clarity from Washington about whether the 28-nation bloc will be exempt from U.S. President Donald Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs.

Brussels has already drawn up a hitlist of flagship American products to target for countermeasures if its exports are affected by the tariffs including peanut butter, bourbon whiskey and orange juice.

The two also met with Japan's Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan Hiroshige Seko, and all three pledged in a statement afterward to work together to fight dumping that hurts jobs and industries around the world.

The EU has warned that it stands ready to slap "rebalancing" tariffs on about 2.8 billion euros ($3.4 billion) worth of US steel, agricultural and other products, like peanut butter, cranberries and orange juice.

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