Saying that the United States’ did not firm up any assurances the European Union would not be included in its expanded coverage of tariffs, the EU’s executive department has demanded that President Donald Trump’s administration grant the group permanent exemption from tariffs on steel and aluminium.
The request came after Washington announced that President Trump has decided to extend a temporary reprieve for the EU, Canada and Mexico up to June 1. The reprieve came just hours after the expanded tariffs on steel and aluminium would have taken effect.
President Trump extended permanent exemptions to Argentina and Brazil.
According to the EU, the group acknowledged President Trump’s decision. However, the EU should not be included in the expanded tariff plan because they were not responsible for the overcapacity in steel and aluminium:
“The U.S. decision prolongs market uncertainty which is already affecting business decisions.”
The basis for President Trump’s decision to impose more expansive tariffs on steel and aluminium was a 1962 trade law which allowed the government to set protectionist laws in the interest of national security.
According to President Trump, there is presently a glut in the steel and aluminium industries and China is to blame for it.
Peter Altmaier, German Economy Minister said Germany expected to be given a permanent trade exemption by the United States:
“I am firmly convinced that in the interest of jobs in Germany, in Europe, and in the USA, we need a long-term provision and that raising tariffs is the wrong way. We need fewer, not more duties in global trade.”
The tariffs have caused tension among the trading partners of the United States in various international markets. It has also created massive sell-offs in the equities market. The U.S’s decision to impose the new tariffs has prompted a few challenges before the World Trade Organization (WTO) particularly from China.
President Trump believes the tariffs will help U.S. industries in steel and aluminium exceed their 80% capacity utilization rates for the first time in years.
For their part, the EU said it was willing to find a resolution but not under the guise of any threat:
“Any future transatlantic work program has to be balanced and mutually beneficial.”
The EU plans to impose duties on U.S. exports such as peanut butter and denim jeans totalling 2.8 Billion Euros if the U.S. decides to include their exports in the expanded tariff plan.