EU and Japan are trying to seek exemptions from US steel and aluminium tariffs in order to not to enter into a trade war with the largest economy of the world. The Trade Commissioners from all the three nations viz. Robert Lighthizer-Trade Representative of US, Cecilia Malmstrom-EU Trade Commissioner and Hiroshige Seko-Trade Representative of Tokyo, have met over at a trilateral summit to check the unfair trade practices.
President Trump’s latest tariff declaration to counter China’s capitalism has, in fact, jolted its major trading partners which comprise a major portion of the US annual trade in goods. Brussels and Tokyo have expressed grave concerns over the latest development and have asked for exemptions. The summit resulted in no concrete outcome but was followed by a Presidential tweet from Trump which stated, “The European Union, wonderful countries who treat the U.S. very badly on trade, are complaining about the tariffs on Steel & Aluminum. If they drop their horrific barriers & tariffs on U.S. products going in, we will likewise drop ours,” Mr Trump wrote on Twitter, reiterating his objective to close America’s trade deficit with the EU. “If not, we Tax Cars etc. FAIR!”
EU has clarified that it will not make any negotiations on trade in return for waivers or exemptions on the 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium import tariffs. The bloc has expressed concerns over the US threat of reciprocating with duties on European cars. EU has taken a tough stance on the American threat and stated that if there is no exemption granted to the bloc it will not stop to impose a $3.5 billion taxes on selected American products in addition to challenging US at WTO and also resort to appropriate steps to defend European industries from exports of steel and aluminium from US markets.
It is thus not surprising that Japanese candidature for getting exemptions looks more promising than EU as reflected by President Trump’s Twitter conversation with his Japanese counterpart which said that Japan and US have to open up for a better trade.
Standing in stark contrast to the EU retaliation threats, the Asia-Pacific allies of US are hopeful of exemptions from the new US tariffs.