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EU lodges WTO complaint over US tariffs

April 17, 2018

The EU is seeking compensation from the US for its tariffs on steel and aluminum, rejecting the "national security" justification. China has already dragged the US to WTO.

A worker from Thyssenkrupp among rolls of steel
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/O. Berg

The European Union on Monday complained to the World Trade Organization over US tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

The move comes despite US President Donald Trump temporarily exempting the 28-nation bloc from the tariffs that have threatened to trigger a trade war.

Read more: Opinion: Donald Trump is making America poorer again

What did the EU say?

  • The EU rejects the "national security" justification for the US tariffs and believes they have been imposed just to protect US industry.
  • It wants to hold consultations with the US as soon as possible.
  • The aim of the discussions would be to "exchange views and seek clarification regarding the proposed measures."

Read more: Protectionism: from Bismarck to Trump

A graphic showing the shares of of world steel exports

Oversupply concerns: The EU, a major exporter of steel and aluminum products, is worried the tariffs would not only limit the imports of its goods into the US, but also lead to its products flooding back into its own markets, causing an oversupply.

Global outcry: Last month, Trump unveiled plans for tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, causing a global outcry and worries about a possible trade war. Several countries, including those in the EU, were later given a temporary reprieve, leaving China to take the full brunt of the tariffs.

What is protectionism?

Trade war: Trump followed the tariffs up with a proposal to impose punitive tariffs targeting $50 billion (€40.6 billion) worth of Chinese goods. China responded by imposing its own tariffs on US goods and has warned that it is ready to take further reciprocal measures if the US carried on with its protectionist policy.

Unconditional exemption: The EU is insisting on getting a full and unconditional exemption from the tariffs on steel and aluminum. The economic bloc  which is the largest trading partner of the US — has ruled out any negotiations with the US while under pressure or being threatened.

ap/aw (Reuters, AFP)

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