GUE-NGL MEP Helmut Scholz (DIE LINKE, Germany) condemned President Trump’s unilateral decision to impose heavy tariffs on EU exports of steel (25%) and aluminium (10%) to the US, which will come into effect today. He said:

“By imposing additional tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from the European Union, President Trump has taken a decisive step to undermine international trade regulations. He wants to replace the legal order of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) with the law of the strongest.”

However, he emphasised the need for the Commission and the Council to respond calmly and within reason, rejecting a trade war:

“We should remain within the WTO legal framework and immediately and decisively bring the case before the relevant WTO tribunal. Together with the countries concerned, we should make clear our commitment to the rule of law and the principle of equality before the law. Trump is acting illegally.”

“Tit-for-tat tariffs and sanctions threaten all workers in a wide range of sectors, because how interrelated the global economy and production are. They can no longer be treated from a national or bilateral perspective.”

The Germany MEP advocates for a two-step solution to the current crisis:

“Within the framework of the OECD, we should press for an immediate meeting of the Global Steel Forum to jointly define the necessary response to the American market intervention on the global supply of steel and aluminium. Priority must be given to securing jobs.”

“This crisis is also an opportunity to articulate our economic interests and to approach partners in the Eurasian continent and in Latin America and Africa with improved and fair offers and to further develop and strengthen multilateral trade structures.”

Scholz argued for a coordinated strategy between the Commission, the Council, industrial associations and crucially, the EU’s Economic and Social Committee with the active involvement of trade unions in member states, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and IndustrieAll:

“We must avoid being drawn into a conflict staged by Trump. These conflicts are not in the European interest! In the 21st century there cannot be a ‘me first’-strategy when the massive global challenges facing all countries can only be tackled through joint action,” he concluded.