EU leaders oppose US protectionism

EU leaders say they will respond firmly to US protectionism and have plans to introduce a law for screening foreign investments, according to Reuters.

Leaders of EU Member States met in Brussels for a summit that included trade issues and immigration. The consensus was that US tariffs imposed on imports of steel and aluminium were unjustified and should be challenged by the European Commission, with duties levied against US products in the meantime.

In a statement, the leaders said: “The EU must respond to all actions of a clear protectionist nature.”

EU leaders said they would continue to seek trade agreements with partners, following the recent provisional deals with Japan and Mexico. Similar free trade deals are sought with the Mercosur group (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) and with Australia and New Zealand.

There was also acknowledgement that the EU wished to protect its own key industries and retain technology to guard against unfair competition. China has been criticised for unfair trade practices such as dumping and state subsidy.

The EU leaders called for a legislative proposal on scrutiny of foreign investments within the bloc, to address concern about Chinese acquisitions in Europe.