European Union hopes for clarity from crunch United States trade talks

European Union hopes for clarity from crunch United States trade talks

European Union hopes for clarity from crunch United States trade talks

Anders Samuelsen says "at the end of the day, European and American consumers will pay for it".

From Japan and South Korea to Australia and Europe, officials lined up on Friday to seek exemptions from President Donald Trump´s tariffs on US steel and aluminium imports, while Chinese producers called on Beijing to retaliate in kind.

"That is the signal we have to send to Trump that it is not a path we should follow".

EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom, who coordinates policy for the world's biggest trading bloc, said she shared US concerns about overcapacity in the steel sector but did not believe in tariffs as a way to solve the problem.

U.S. President Donald Trump set import tariffs on Thursday of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminium but exempted Canada and Mexico and offered the possibility of excluding other allies, backtracking from an earlier stance.

"We work together. We can not possibly be a threat to national security in the USA, so we are counting on being excluded", she said.

WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo has expressed concerns about a trade war and appealed for cool heads to prevail.

"We will have to protect our industry with rebalancing measures, safeguards". He spoke only on condition of anonymity to relay details of the envoys' comments.

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Surrounded by applauding steel and aluminum workers, U.S. President Donald Trump holds up the "Section 232 Proclamations" on steel imports that he signed in the White House.

"We need a clarity to the situation but it is also very clear that we are looking at an option to be excluded from high tariffs", Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, told a press conference.

"We are an ally, not a threat", Katainen said. "We cannot see how the European Union, friends and allies in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, can be a threat to worldwide security in the U.S".

European industry associations called on Malmstrom to respond if the EU was subjected to the tariffs, saying they would hit the steel and aluminum sectors hard.

Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries said the European Union will "be ready to react appropriately".

However, the announcement is expected to be the beginning of a wider trade war, with additional tariffs likely to follow.

Reuters reports that European Financial Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici told BFM TV on Thursday that the European trading bloc is planning a response to the tariffs that it still hopes Trump will back down from imposing.

She said, "trade creates wealth, when it is based on exchange and cooperation" and added, referring indirectly to the surprise resignation of Trump's top economic adviser Gary Cohn Tuesday, that, "advocates for this in the USA administration are very important".

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