The European Union (EU) will present a firm and proportional response to defend its interests after the US decision to impose additional tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum, said European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Thursday.
Earlier in the day, US President Donald Trump announced the imposition of additional duties of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum.
“We strongly regret this step, which appears to represent a blatant intervention to protect U.S. domestic industry,” said Juncker in a statement.
The EU will not stand idly by, while its industries are hit by unjust measures that endanger thousands of Europeans, he said, adding that the European Commission will submit in the near future to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) “countermeasures against the United States, consistent with WTO rules, to rebalance the situation”.
“US measures will have a negative impact on transatlantic relations and global markets, and they could increase costs and reduce US consumer choices for steel and aluminum, including the industries that import these products,” added EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström.
On Wednesday President Trump confirmed that tariffs on steel and aluminum will “probably” be put into effect “sometime next week.”
Before his announcement confirming the imposition of tariffs markets had already reacted negatively. In early trading benchmark indexes in Frankfurt and Paris shed roughly 2 percent in early trade, while stocks in London dropped by 1 percent. The Nikkei dropped 2.5 percent in Tokyo, while Hong Kong stocks slid 1.5 percent.