Potential Trade Conflict With the EU ‘Up To the US’ – French Finance Minister

On Thursday, the Trump administration is expected to announce that the United States will impose steel and aluminum tariffs on EU states.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told the US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross that the US metal tariffs would be unjustified and dangerous.

“It’s entirely up to US authorities whether they want to enter into a trade conflict with their biggest partner, Europe,” Le Maire said.

He added that the EU would take “all necessary measures” to respond if the United States decided to impose tariffs.

Earlier, the EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom stated that it was unlikely that the US decided to refrain from applying tariffs to the goods from the bloc after the temporary exemption expires.

According to the bloc’s trade chief, the US is likely to impose a cap on the exports from the EU.

European Union Ambassador to the United States David O’Sullivan said earlier that the EU will likely respond with “counterbalancing” tariffs on US products.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said earlier that the French and other Europeans don’t want a trade war, but if they are attacked, they will have to defend their interests.

After the US imposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum in late March, the EU was granted a temporary exemption, which is due to expire on June 1.

In March, the United States introduced a 25-percent tariff on imported steel and a 10-percent tariff on imported aluminum.

After that tensions between China and the United States had escalated. In response, Beijing vowed to retaliate against US exports to China with a matching value.

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