European Interest

EU retaliates with duties on US products

Flickr/aka CJ

As part of the European Union’s response to the US tariffs on steel and aluminium products, the EU Commissioners agreed on June 6 to impose additional duties on a full list of US products notified to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Following the announcement of their decision to apply these tit-f-tat tariffs, the Commission expects to conclude the relevant procedure in coordination with the EU member states before the end of June so that the new duties start applying in July.

According to a European Commission press release, the application of the rebalancing duties is fully in line with WTO rules, and corresponds to a list of products previously notified to the WTO. The WTO Safeguards Agreement allows for a rebalancing corresponding to the damage caused by the US measures with EU exports worth €6.4bn (2017) being affected.

As such, the EU plans to exercise its rights immediately on US products valued at up to €2.8bnof trade. The remaining rebalancing on trade valued at €3.6bn will take place at a later stage (in three years’ time or after a positive finding in WTO dispute settlement if that should come sooner).

“This is a measured and proportionate response to the unilateral and illegal decision taken by the United States to impose tariffs on European steel and aluminium exports,” said Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström. “What’s more, the EU’s reaction is fully in line with international trade law. We regret that the United States left us with no other option than to safeguard EU interests.”

As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, the EU exported some 5.5 million tonnes of steel to the US last year.

EU producers now have to put up with a 25% tariff on steel exports and a tariff of 10% on aluminium shipments to the United States.

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