Brief blogEconomic sovereignty

Steel. Europe will not stand idly by in the face of threats from Donald Trump (V2)

(B2 with AFP) The European Union is preparing retaliatory measures against American companies and brands including “Harley-Davidson, Bourbon and Levi's”, specified the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker on Friday in Hamburg in front of journalists from German television.

US President Donald Trump announced Thursday evening his intention to impose tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum on imports to the United States next week in order to protect the steel industry national, without however saying which countries would be targeted.

We won't be naive

As soon as this decision was announced, the President of the European Commission expressed his “ regrets » and promised that the EU would “ react firmly and proportionally to defend (one's) interests ". On Friday, he repeated that determination. " We will not stand idly by when European industry and jobs are under threat he warned.

« Europe will have to oppose this project. We fight back and impose import duties on Harley Davidson, Levi's and Bourbon »

If the United States wants to set up barriers, we will also be stupid » than them, he then added. « 'Europe needs a trade policy capable of defending itself: we will not be naive ».

A window of opportunity before commercial aftershocks

A little earlier Friday (March 2), the vice-president of the European Commission, Jyrki Katainen, nevertheless told AFP that it remained “ a window of opportunity » in order to avoid a trade war with the United States. He explained that these European countermeasures, already “ ready for some time », would be in compliance with the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and that they would compensate in value the potential losses for the European industry, the second largest producer of steel in the world after China.

NB: The United States imports 30 million tonnes of steel per year, worth $24 billion, and is therefore the largest importer in the world, according to data from the German Ministry of the Economy. Some 4% of this steel is imported from Germany and 50% comes from four countries: Canada, Brazil, South Korea and Mexico.

The Union must react

« Imposing punitive tariffs on steel and aluminum is nothing more than nationalist protectionism » declared former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the Liberal and Democratic group in the European Parliament, on Twitter. ““America First” does not mean you can undermine international trade law. The EU must react quickly and in accordance with WTO rules to defend its interests. »

(NGV with AFP)

Photo credit: European Commission

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