Counter-tariffs against US on June 22: EU

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Brussels, June 20 (IANS) The EU will launch a raft of retaliatory tariffs against the US exports on June 22 in response to American tariffs imposed on EU steel and aluminium earlier this month, a top official said.

American exports such as blue jeans, motorbikes and bourbon whiskey will be targeted, said EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom. However, she said the bloc “did not want to be in this position”, the BBC reported.

“The unilateral and unjustified decision of the US to impose steel and aluminium tariffs on the EU means that we are left with no other choice,” she said.

Malmstrom called the EU response “proportionate” and in line with World Trade Organization rules and said that they would be removed if Washington removed its metal tariffs. EU steel and aluminium exports now facing US tariffs are worth a total of 6.4 billion euros.

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Brussels drew up the list of products in March when US President Donald Trump initially proposed the 25 per cent tariffs on steel imports and 10 per cent on aluminium, hitting Canada, Mexico and other close US allies.

The EU’s move came amid an intensifying row over trade between the US and its partners.

On Tuesday, Trump threatened to impose duties on an additional $200 billion of Chinese goods after hitting $50 billion of products with tariffs.

He said the 10 per cent duties would come into effect if China “refuses to change its practices”. However, Beijing accused Washington of “blackmail” and said it would “fight back firmly”, raising fears of a full-blown trade war.

Trump announced plans for tariffs on foreign steel and aluminium in March, justifying them on national security grounds. He argued that global over-supply of steel and aluminium, driven by China, threatened American steel and aluminium producers, vital to the US.

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Since Trump’s announcement, South Korea, Argentina, Australia and Brazil agreed to put limits on the volume of metals they can ship to the US in lieu of tariffs.

However, Canada earlier announced that it will impose retaliatory tariffs on £9.5 billion worth of US exports from July 1. And Mexico put tariffs on American products ranging from steel to pork and bourbon two weeks ago.

–IANS

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