Trade Cases

EU Retaliatory Tariffs to Begin on Friday

Written by Sandy Williams

The European Commission announced that $3.2 billion in tariffs (€2.8 billion) on imports from the United States will go into effect on Friday, June 22. The “rebalancing measures” include steel and aluminum, agricultural goods and various other products and will remain in effect for as long as the U.S. tariffs on steel aluminum are in place.

“We did not want to be in this position. However, the unilateral and unjustified decision of the U.S. to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on the EU means that we are left with no other choice,” said Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström. “The rules of international trade, which we have developed over the years hand in hand with our American partners, cannot be violated without a reaction from our side. Our response is measured, proportionate and fully in line with WTO rules. Needless to say, if the U.S. removes its tariffs, our measures will also be removed.”

The EU is basing its rebalance of bilateral trade with the U.S. on the value of its steel and aluminum exports affected by the Section 232 tariffs. The value is determined to be €6.4 billion ($7.4 billion). Of this amount, the EU will rebalance on €2.8 billion worth of exports immediately. The remaining rebalancing on trade valued at €3.6 billion ($4.17 billion) will take place in three years or following a positive finding in the WTO dispute settlement.

The rebalancing measures are part of a three-pronged effort in response to Section 232 tariffs by the United States. A safeguard investigation was launched by the European Commission on March 26 to protect the European market from diversion of steel from the U.S. The commission has nine months to decide if safeguard measures are necessary, and a decision could be forthcoming this summer. The EC also launched legal proceedings against the U.S. in the WTO on June 1.

The EC will monitor aluminum imports to determine if safeguards are required in that sector.

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