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European Union makes last-minute attempt to avert U.S. trade war

01 May 2018

The decision came just hours before temporary exemptions were set to expire at 12:01 a.m. ET (0401 GMT) on Tuesday.

The commission, the EU's executive arm that coordinates trade policy for the 28-nation bloc, has already prepared a three-fold retaliatory strategy if the exemption isn't made permanent.

Trump administration officials have said that in lieu of tariffs, steel and aluminum exporting countries would have to agree to quotas created to achieve similar protections for US producers.

China was not included in the exemptions and it later retaliated with its own duties on some USA imports.

Ross said on Friday that the United States wanted "quotas, if not tariffs " on European Union metal shipments. South Korea made up the largest share, shipping about 13 percent of USA imports, according to an American Iron and Steel Institute analysis of government data.

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In a statement released Sunday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that after discussions with French President Emmanuel Macron and UK Prime Minister Teresa May, the leaders "agreed that the USA ought not to take any trade measures against the European Union".

"If you let everybody back out of the tariff, and you let them out of any kind of quota, how would you ever reduce the imports here?"

The tariffs were a central issue in separate meetings Trump held last week with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House.

Merkel said Europe was "resolved to defend its interests within the multilateral trade framework". He also granted a permanent exemption to South Korea.

President Donald Trump will decide by midnight Monday if the us will slap permanent aluminum and steel tariffs on the European Union. "The decision lies with the president", she said Friday.

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Mnuchin noted in the interview that he is not concerned about China's retaliatory measures in response to USA tariffs.

The Treasury secretary will lead the USA trade delegation in China this week.

But Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday that Trump had not made a decision on the exemptions despite the looming deadline. The others in the delegation, which begins on Thursday: The Honorable Terry Branstad, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States to China The Honorable Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce The Honorable Peter Navarro, Assistant to the President.

Most analysts, however, think it's unlikely the talks will reach permanent agreements and will more likely mark the start of longer-term negotiations.

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European Union makes last-minute attempt to avert U.S. trade war