News ID: 211510
Published: 0403 GMT March 11, 2018

Trump issues new trade threat to EU in tit-for-tat

Trump issues new trade threat to EU in tit-for-tat

US President Donald Trump has renewed his demand that European Union countries halt its trade barriers to American products in order to spare his EU allies new tariffs on steel and aluminum.

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

"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!" he added.

Undeterred by warnings from experts and allied leaders around the world about a looming trade war, Trump has doubled down on his plans to push ahead with the new tariff plan.

EU and US officials have are in Belgium’s capital Brussels to discuss possible ways for defusing the row.

"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 session, which was also attended by Japanese Economy Minister Hiroshige Seko.

Japan, which accounts for which accounts for five percent of US steel imports, has replaced the US in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a sweeping trade agreement that was thought to be dead after Trump's decision last year to pull out his country.

The deal, now known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), was viewed by some experts as a step against Trump’s protectionist policies, including the new tariff

The EU has openly threatened Trump with a hard response, European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker saying the bloc could fight “stupid with stupid.”

Later on Saturday, Trump addressed a rally in Moon Township, Pennsylvania—the heart of America’s steel production— where he further bashed America’s partners and the quality of the products.

“It's not good steel -- you guys know what I mean. It's crap," Trump said, defending his move as the crowd cheered.

The American head of state said the tariffs would spur economic growth in the region.

"A lot of steel mills are now opening up because of what I did," he said. "Steel is back, and aluminum is back."

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