Commission responds to the US restrictions on steel and aluminium

The European Commission took note yesterday of the announcement by the President of the United States of the imposition of additional import duties on EU exports of steel and aluminium to the United States. In reaction to the announcement President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker said: “Instead of providing a solution, this move can only aggravate matters. The EU has been a close security ally of the US for decades. We will not sit idly while our industry is hit with unfair measures that put thousands of European jobs at risk. The EU will react firmly and commensurately to defend our interests. The Commission will bring forward in the next few days a proposal for WTO-compatible countermeasures against the US to rebalance the situation.” Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström added: “The root cause of problems in these two sectors is global overcapacity caused by non-market based production. This can only be addressed at the source and by working with the key countries involved. This go-it-alone action by the US will not help.” The new US import duties are set at 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium. Similar restrictions will also be imposed on exports from other countries. The investigations undertaken by the US Department of Commerce under Section 232 of the US Trade Expansion Act of 1962 concluded that steel and aluminium imports threatened US national security and recommended the imposition of trade restrictions. However, in essence, these measures are primarily intended to protect the US domestic industry from import competition. For more information see the full Commission statement.