European Interest

US extends EU exemption from tariffs, but only for one month


The United States has decided to extend until June 1 European Union’s exemption from controversial tariffs on steel and aluminium imports. The decision, which was announced on May 1, may be too short to prevent market uncertainty.

Brussels has called on Washington to fully and permanently exempt the EU from these measures, as they cannot be justified on the grounds of national security.

As reported by the European Commission in a press release, overcapacity in the steel and aluminium sectors does not originate in the EU. On the contrary, the EU has over the past months engaged at all possible levels with the US and other partners to find a solution to this issue.

The EU has also consistently indicated its willingness to discuss current market access issues of interest to both sides, but has also made clear that, as a longstanding partner and friend of the US, we will not negotiate under threat. Any future transatlantic work programme has to be balanced and mutually beneficial, said the Commission.

According to European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström, who has been in contact with US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the discussions will continue.

In a separate report, the Reuters news agency noted that US President Trump’s decision to extend its temporary exemption for a month prolonged business uncertainty.

According to the Agence France-Presse (AFP), the EU has acknowledged problems due to a supply glut but has insisted it will not negotiate without first obtaining a permanent exemption. And it has warned it is ready to retaliate.

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