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EU: Postponement merely prolongs market uncertainty

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BRUSSELS, Belgium”•The European Commission said Tuesday the United States had merely prolonged “market uncertainty” by its decision to hold off on imposing controversial tariffs on steel and aluminum from the EU, Canada and Mexico.

“The US decision prolongs market uncertainty, which is already affecting business decisions,” the commission, the EU’s executive arm, said in a statement.

“The EU should be fully and permanently exempted from these measures, as they cannot be justified on the grounds of national security.”

US President Donald Trump on Monday held off on imposing controversial tariffs on steel and aluminum from Canada, Mexico and the European Union, offering them a 30-day reprieve after fears of a trade war spooked Wall Street.

The 25-percent tariffs on steel and 10 percent duties on aluminum were set to go into effect on Tuesday, as temporary exemptions granted in March to Canada, Mexico, the EU and other US allies expired.

“Overcapacity in the steel and aluminum sectors does not originate in the EU,” the European Commission’s statement said.

“On the contrary, the EU has over the past months engaged at all possible levels with the US and other partners to find a solution to this issue.

“The EU has also consistently indicated its willingness to discuss current market access issues of interest to both sides, but has also made clear that, as a longstanding partner and friend of the US, we will not negotiate under threat. Any future transatlantic work program has to be balanced and mutually beneficial.”

The statement said the EU’s top trade official Cecilia Malmstrom had been in contact with US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer over the past weeks on the issue, and the discussions would continue. 


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