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Donald Trump to European Union: We'll Drop Our Tariffs If You Drop Yours

US President Donald Trump made his comments after crunch talks in Brussels between EU negotiators and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in an effort to defuse a bitter row that many fear could turn into an all-out trade war.

AFP

Updated:March 11, 2018, 8:15 AM IST
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Donald Trump to European Union: We'll Drop Our Tariffs If You Drop Yours
File photo of US President Donald Trump. (Image: Reuters)
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Washington: President Donald Trump renewed his demand on Sunday that the European Union halts its trade barriers to US products in order to spare his allies new steel and aluminium tariffs.

Trump made his comments after crunch talks in Brussels between EU negotiators and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in an effort to defuse a bitter row that many fear could turn into an all-out trade war.

The EU's top trade official said the US failed to provide full clarity on how Europe and Japan could be spared set to continue next week.

"The European Union, wonderful countries who treat the US very badly on trade, are complaining about the tariffs on Steel & Aluminium," Trump said.

"If they drop their horrific barriers & tariffs on US products going in, we will likewise drop ours. Big Deficit. If not, we Tax Cars etc. FAIR!"

President Donald Trump's announcement of duties of 25 per cent on imported steel and 10 per cent on aluminium has stung the European Union, along with other major partners including Japan, whose Economy Minister Hiroshige Seko also attended the talks in Brussels.

"As long-standing security partners of the United States, (the EU and Japan) underlined to ambassador Lighthizer their expectation that EU and Japanese exports to the US would be exempted from the application of higher tariffs," an EU statement said after the talks.

But after two-way talks with Lighthizer, European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem tweeted: "No immediate clarity on the exact US procedure for exemption, however, so discussions will continue next week."

Brussels has gone the furthest in fighting back against Washington's shock measures, loudly announcing a list of US products to hit with countermeasures if its exports are affected by the tariffs.

In announcing the measures, European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker taunted Trump, saying the EU could match "stupid with stupid."
Lighthizer, a loyalist to Trump's "America First" mantra, made no official comment after the talks, but the three sides did agree on a series of next steps to address the oversupply worldwide of steel and other materials, mainly by China.

This progress was "unexpected" and a source of cautious optimism on solving the tariff row, an EU official said on condition of anonymity.

"If Trump wants his allies to demonstrate that they are united in tackling problems with China, this is precisely that," the source added.
| Edited by: Puja Menon
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