The EU exempt from Trump’s trade war – for now
US President Donald Trump imposes tariffs aimed at China, several others are exempt from tolls added to steel and aluminum tolls. Whether little Norway is among those exempt from the ensuing trade war, is not clear.
The steel and aluminum tariffs are being suspended for Europe, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and South Korea, The President’s Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, announced during a hearing in the Senate on Thursday.
Trump has announced a 25 per cent surcharge tax on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum. The tariffs will enter into force on Friday at 5 am, CET, but Trump has explicitly stated granting exemption to Allied countries.
NTB has not succeeded in determining if Lighthizer with “Europe” is referring to the European Union only.
Serious and worrisome
The Norwegian Government do not know exactly which countries are covered by the exception either, says Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ine Eriksen Søreide (Conservatives).
She is very much against the tariffs.
– It is serious and worrying that USA has decided to raise trade barriers on aluminum and steel. This raises doubts about respect for the multilateral rule-based trading system, says Søreide.
Norway will contact the US authorities ASAP, she states.
– From our side, we have been crystal clear in our communication with the US authorities that we expect equal treatment for Norway in this case, says Søreide.
According to Lighthizer, exceptions apply only on a temporary basis while negotiating for more lasting solutions is ongoing.
EU’s Commissioner for Commerce, Cecilia Malmström, visited Washington this week to discuss the matter directly with US Minister for Trade, Wilbur Ross, and other US leaders.
According to her, a separate committee involving the EU and the US will be established to discuss the matter in depth.
Norway is not part of the EU’s commercial policy, and therefore stands alone when negotiating with the Americans.
Additional measures directed at China
The news of the exemptions comes at the same time that Trump announces more tariffs aimed at China, at a value of up to USD 60 billion.
Trump believes the measures are absolutely necessary to lessen the trade deficit of USA with China.
The man in the Oval Office is also going for the jugular of the EU while he is at it.
– They have largely closed our country out of their markets. They have barriers in place that allow them to trade with us while we can not trade with them.
– They have very strong barriers and high tariff rates, while we do not have that. It is very unfair, states Trump.
Will not be intimidated
Trump has repeatedly made it clear that he wants cuts in the EU’s tariffs affecting the United States of America. He has also threatened to target European industry, not in the least by introducing higher tariffs on car imports.
The matter was discussed at the EU summit meeting in Brussels on Thursday. The message issued is that the European Union will not negotiate while threatened by sanctions.
But EU is open to constructive dialogue, says Malmström.
According to her, the joint committee will discuss what she mentions as irritants in the trade between them and the United States.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today