Trump says commerce secretary will talk tariffs with EU

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13 March, 2018

Mr Trump said in a tweet on Saturday the United States was ready to drop its tariffs if the European Union lowered its "horrific" rates on USA products.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised aluminum and steelworkers on Monday he would defend them against possible U.S. tariffs and called U.S. President Donald Trump to stress that "mutually beneficial" cross-border supply chains should be preserved.

The president announced last week that the United States would impose heavy tariffs on imported steel and aluminium, with some countries potentially exempted.

While the tariffs are not expected to have a big impact on the US or global economy, economists agreed that the risk of a trade war stemming from the move could have much bigger consequences.

The association said in the letter that it applauds the administration's efforts to rebalance trade and protect the US steel industry and workers, but it is concerned that global import tariffs on steel and aluminum would have a devastating effect on steel-consuming manufacturers downstream, including the auto care industry.

The EU has already warned that it is preparing counter measures if it is not exempted from the tariffs, while officials from China said over the weekend that a trade war would only bring "disaster" to the global economy.

"There is a global overcapacity issue and we are very pleased to work with our allies and friends to continue to counter that problem", he said.

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The announcement of duties of 25 per cent on imported steel and 10 per cent on aluminium has stung the European Union and other major partners, coming as a surprise to allied countries and to many in Washington.

He also highlighted the strength of the national security relationship between the United Kingdom and the US.

Over the weekend, the bloc met with United States trade representative Robert Lighthizer to resolve the tariff row, but did not come to an agreement.

The EU rejects Trump's argument that the tariffs are required for national security reasons.

"Dialogue is always the prime option for the EU", European Commission spokesman Enrico Brivio said at a news briefing on Monday.

Asked what he would do if Trump changed course and slapped duties on Canada, Trudeau said, "we'll see when we get to that point".

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