Sunday 27 May 2018

EU vows to react 'swiftly' to Trump US tariffs threat

US President Donald Trump attacked ‘very unfair’ trade Photo: AP
US President Donald Trump attacked ‘very unfair’ trade Photo: AP

Philip Blenkinsop

The EU is ready to react swiftly if the United States restricts its exports, the European Commission said after US President Donald Trump threatened to confront the bloc over its "very unfair" trade policy.

Mr Trump said in an interview with Britain's ITV broadcast on Sunday that he had a lot of problems with the EU and that it could "morph into something big" on trade.

A commission spokesman told a news conference that the EU did not view trade as a zero-sum game.

"It is not about winners and losers. We here in the European Union believe that trade can be and should be win-win," spokesman Margaritis Schinas said.

"We also believe that while trade has to be open and fair it has also to be rules-based. The European Union stands ready to react swiftly and appropriately in case our exports are affected by any restrictive trade measures from the United States," he said.

Washington last week imposed tariffs of 20pc on imported washing machines and of 30pc on incoming solar cells and modules, among the first unilateral trade restrictions made by the administration as part of a broader protectionist agenda.

China and South Korea condemned the tariffs, with Seoul set to complain to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The European Commission said then that it regretted the US move and had serious doubts that it met WTO conditions and would analyse the impact on EU exports.

Over the weekend however, the US was dealt a blow when the International Trade Commission ruled that Bombardier can ship its C Series jets to Delta Air Lines as scheduled, blocking a previous US Commerce Department decision to impose duties of almost 300pc on the planes.

That initial move sparked fears of job losses in Belfast, where Bombardier has operations.

The International Trade Commission vote deals a blow to Chicago-based Boeing, which said Bombardier sold the C Series in the US at less than fair value while benefiting from UK government subsidies. (Reuters)

Irish Independent

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