BRUSSELS – The European Union lamented on Friday that the United States had announced it would be imposing steep tariffs on steel and aluminum and requested that the bloc’s temporary exemption agreed with Washington be made permanent.
EU member states had said in a series of conclusions approved at the European Council on Thursday that the tariffs could not be justified on the basis of national security, insisting that the US’ protectionist measures were an inappropriate solution to overcapacity problems.
“The import tariffs on steel and aluminum put in place by the US are a highly unfortunate unilateral action, which goes against agreed international rules,” said Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmströn on her official Twitter account after Friday’s meeting. “The EU is not the source of the global problems in the steel and aluminum sectors so the US and EU should be tackling such issues together.”
The 10- and 25-percent tariffs imposed by US President Donald Trump came into effect early on Friday, although at the last minute, the EU, Canada, Mexico, Australia, South Korea, Brazil and Argentina were exempted.
The announcement had been heavily lambasted by international leaders, who criticized that Trump was trying to start a trade war and that the tariffs could heighten tensions globally.
“EU Council recalls commitment to strong transatlantic relations as a cornerstone of security, prosperity for US, EU and underlines strong support for dialogue on trade issues of common concern,” said Council chief Donald Tusk on Twitter on Friday.