The EU is set to retaliate against US tariffs on steel imports by imposing import duties on US products including peanut butter, bourbon whisky, orange juice, cranberries, steel and industrial products.
EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said the measures were intended to respond to US tariffs, which threaten jobs in the EU steel industry. US President Donald Trump has said EU rules make it ‘impossible’ for US firms to trade with European member states.
Malmstrom said she had ‘serious doubt’ about the US justification for steel and aluminium tariffs. It is claimed that US national security is threatened and therefore 25% tariffs on steel and 10% on aluminium are reasonable.
The trade commissioner confirmed that proceedings to challenge the tariffs would be initiated through the World Trade Organisation.
Malmstrom said: “From what we understand, the motivation of the US is an economic safeguard measure in disguise, not a national security measure. We are discussing different US products on which different import tariffs can be imposed.”
According to Malmstrom, global overcapacity is the root cause of problems with the global steel and aluminium markets, which are supported by “massive state subsidies… under non-market conditions.”