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Europe has 'arsenal of weapons' to respond to Trump's tariffs: EU's Moscovici

11 March 2018

"If there is a violation, then we will seek consultations".

A Eurofer spokesman also warned that the US's punitive tariffs not only make market access more hard for European steel but could flood Europe with imports from other nations unable to get into the USA market, pushing prices down and endangering EU jobs.

"We are prepared and will be prepared if need be to use rebalancing measures", Katainen said.

The EU's top trade official said the United States failed on Saturday to provide full clarity on how Europe could be spared from Washington's controversial steel and aluminium tariffs, but said talks would continue next week.

The officials said all European Union countries, including Britain which is leaving the European Union, were behind the Commission, which handles trade issues for the 28 governments.

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The EU is holding fire on its reprisals as Trump has yet to sign into effect his plan to set tariffs for what he calls unfair competition for USA industry, but Malmstroem said a list of products had been drawn up including steel, industrial and agricultural items.

The EU has warned that it stands ready to slap "rebalancing" tariffs on about 2.8 billion euros ($3.4 billion) worth of USA steel, agricultural and other products, like peanut butter, cranberries and orange juice. He was apparently referring to the European Union threats of retaliation.

Sweetcorn, cranberry juice and peanut butter are all on the list along with cigarettes, cigars and playing cards.

Europe's main steel federation said Trump's reasons for slapping tariffs on steel and aluminum are absurd and warned that the move could cost tens of thousands of jobs across the continent. "Now we are talking about unilateral action against global rules, and we want to sort it out before it really becomes a problem".

"This is not a trade negotiation", he said. "We're going to have sensible relations with our allies".

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Trump's announcement of duties of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminium has stung the European Union and triggered warnings of an all-out worldwide trade war.

Mr Trump says the measures will "protect the American worker" and fulfil a campaign promise. "It could disrupt the steel and aluminium markets of the world and have a negative impact", Mr Seko told reporters after meeting Mr Lighthizer to seek an exemption for Japanese producers.

Europe exports around 5 billion euros' (R73.6-billion) worth of steel and a billion euros' worth of aluminium to the U.S. each year, and the commission estimates Trump's tariffs could cost some 2.8 billion euros.

"We want Congress to understand that this would be a lose-lose situation", he said.

European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen told AFP on Friday the bloc could form a "coalition of like-minded countries" to file a complaint at the WTO, though this procedure usually takes around two years.

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Europe has 'arsenal of weapons' to respond to Trump's tariffs: EU's Moscovici