The European Union on Friday will slap billions in additional tariffs on U.S. exports in reaction to President Trump‘s steel and aluminum tariffs.
The EU said on Wednesday that it will impose a 25 percent tariff on $3.2 billion in American goods ranging from Harley-Davidson motorcycles to jeans and bourbon, the European Commission in Brussels announced.
“We did not want to be in this position,” EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said in a statement.
“However, the unilateral and unjustified decision of the U.S. to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on the EU means that we are left with no other choice,” Malmström said.
She said that the response is proportionate and in line with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules and that if the U.S. drops the metals tariffs the EU will follow suit.
The EU also launched legal proceedings against the U.S. at the WTO on June 1.
The EU’s tit-for-tat tariffs will hit about 200 U.S. products that include steel, aluminum, corn, rice, orange juice, cigarettes, peanuts, cigars, T-shirts, cosmetics and boats.
A separate 10 percent tariff will be imposed on imports of playing cards.
Trump has said that the tariffs are needed to protect the nation’s national security.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told a Senate panel on Wednesday that the Section 232 tariffs were designed to revive the steel and aluminum industries that have been harmed by imports.
He said a global solution is needed to stop China from shipping its steel through other countries to get around tariffs that the United States has already put into place.
The EU has said that the U.S. has no grounds for implementing the national security policy and is instead moving to protect American industries.
In March, Trump decided to implement tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on imported aluminum.
After months of talks, the Trump administration ended in June a temporary two-month exemption for the EU, Mexico and Canada, all of which have retaliated or plan to do so soon.
Canada will impose retaliatory tariffs on $12.5 billion worth of U.S. exports starting July.
Mexico has already put tariffs on U.S. products that include steel and pork.
The EU could levy more tariffs of between 10 percent and 50 percent on billions of dollars more in U.S. goods by 2021.
BY VICKI NEEDHAM – 06/20/18