BRUSSELS – The European Commission took on Tuesday a stand regarding the decision of US President Donald Trump to postpone imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports for the European Union, Mexico and Canada.
The 25-percent tariffs on steel and 10-percent on aluminum entered into force on March 23, but Trump temporarily exempted some of his main allies from them and made way for negotiations on import quotas of these products.
“The US decision prolongs market uncertainty, which is already affecting business decisions. The EU should be fully and permanently exempted from these measures, as they cannot be justified on the grounds of national security,” the statement said.
“As a longstanding partner and friend of the US, we will not negotiate under threat. Any future transatlantic work program has to be balanced and mutually beneficial,” it added.
The EC stated that the problem did not emerge from the European Union; however, the EU spared no effort to reach a solution with the US and other partners.
Meanwhile, discussions have been conducted for a while now between European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, and to be continued in the meantime.
The countries that have currently been exempted from such tariffs include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, South Korea, Mexico and the EU, which the US had given until midnight Tuesday to seal negotiations.
However, Trump announced a “final” 30-day extension to negotiate with Mexico, Canada and the EU.