European Union to host US, Japan on steel as US tariffs loom

European Union to host US, Japan on steel as US tariffs loom

A WTO spokesman has said they can not comment on the tariff announcement, adding that they are still unclear on the legal basis for the measures. "It meant in practice that in the US they lost thousands and thousands of jobs", Katainen said.

The EU's top trade official said Friday that "dialogue" with Washington was the bloc's "prime option" as it seeks to win exemptions from US President Donald Trump's controversial new steel and aluminium tariffs.

Malmstrom said she would discuss the issue at a long-planned meeting on Saturday with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and his Japanese counterpart Hiroshige Seko, noting that it was "not crystal clear" what Trump had decided Thursday.

The EU said it was considering "all possible responses" including dispute settlement and rebalancing measures allowed under WTO rules, according to the trade official.

European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen said: "We all have to choose whether we want rules-based trade - which supports rules-based world order - or do we want rule of force, or the rule of the strongest, which we have now seen?"

Recently, the International Monetary Fund's Managing Director Christine Lagarde has said that nobody wins in a trade war and that the macro-economic impact of USA tariffs on imports would be serious if other countries respond with tariffs of their own.

Trump has said Canada and Mexico are exempt for now, and other countries could be spared if they can convince the administration their steel and aluminum exports don't threaten American jobs and industry.

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At that time, the European Union compiled a list of items for retaliatory tariffs that included steel products, but also orange juice, apples, sunglasses, knitwear, motor boats and photocopying machines.

Japan's Seko said he also had expressed concern to Lighthizer and warned of major market disruption.

Aluminium producers' association European Aluminium called for an "immediate" implementation of measures if necessary. It represented $2.2 billion in US exports to the EU.

"This is not a trade negotiation", Katainen said.

But the USA has already thrown up barriers to Chinese imports.

Germany's exports to the United States - its largest trading partner - outweighed imports by €50.5 billion (RM 242.3 billion) across 2017 and €3.5 billion in January this year, figures released by federal statistics authority Destatis showed today.

"We call for calm-headed behavior", he told reporters in Brussels. The Commission said that this would be unlikely as the decision under the trade enforcement regulation would be subject to qualified majority voting.