Trump highlights talks with European Union over `unfair´ tariffs

Malcolm Turnbull

The president announced last week that the United States would impose heavy tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, with some countries potentially exempted.

As noted by Bloomberg's Leonid Bershidsky, Trump's gripes about the modest USA deficit in trade with the EU are overstated; almost 60 percent of US imports are "related party" goods and services produced by US companies overseas, and American companies in Europe ($720 billion) significantly outproduced European companies in the USA ($584 billion) in 2016.

Trump insisted there would be a fair process of negotiation, including talks of exemptions.

She will meet with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Japanese Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko in Brussels on Saturday when she will ask whether the European Union is to be included in the tariffs. This has caused a negative reaction among many U.S. trading partners.

He said that the United Kingdom would be working with the European Union to formulate a response which could include immediate duties on the USA, measures to safeguard the EU market from the displacing effect of U.S. tariffs and a dispute at the World Trade Organisation.

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"On our end we are going to vigorously defend supply management", Couillard said, adding Quebec's farmers have already given up market share for other recently negotiated trade deals.

French economy minister Bruno Le Maire told reporters: "We are anxious (about) the possibility of having a trade war between the United States and the European Union because we believe that there will be only losers. But we are not afraid, we will stand up to the bullies", she told a trade conference in Brussels. He said his administration is going to be "very fair" and "very flexible" with other countries but that he still had the "right" to add or exempt countries to his tariff plan.

Those threats have been overblown, according to Dani Rodrik, professor of worldwide political economy at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government and one of the world's leading experts on trade.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will speak with representatives of the European Union about eliminating tariffs on USA imports, President Donald Trump said in a tweet on Monday morning. The two countries will have to make good on a renegotiated Nafta deal, Trump says. The EU trading bloc is seeking exemption from the tariffs.

The Commission said it expected to be in contact with Washington over the metals tariffs this week, but that no formal talks had been scheduled.

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