EU to impose rebalancing duties on U.S. products in July
06 Jun 2018, 18:00 ( 06 Jun, 2018)
The European Union (EU) should start applying the rebalancing duties on U.S. products in July in response to U.S. tariffs imposed on EU steel and aluminium, the European Commission said on Wednesday.
"The College of Commissioners endorsed today the decision to impose additional duties on the full list of U.S. products notified to the World Trade Organization (WTO), as part of the EU's response to the U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminium products," the Commission said in a statement.
Following this decision, the Commission expects to "conclude the relevant procedure in coordination with the member states before the end of June so that the new duties start applying in July".
"This is a measured and proportionate response to the unilateral and illegal decision taken by the United States to impose tariffs on European steel and aluminium exports. What's more, the EU's reaction is fully in line with international trade law. We regret that the United States left us with no other option than to safeguard EU interests," EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said.
In March, Trump announced plans to impose a 25-percent tariff on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum, while delaying the implementation of the tariffs for some trading partners, including the EU.
The White House said in late April that the steel and aluminum tariff exemptions for EU member states, Canada and Mexico would be extended until June 1 in order to give "a final 30 days" for them to reach agreements over trade negotiations. But those negotiations have so far failed to result in a deal.
The U.S. decided to impose steel and aluminum tariffs for the EU, Canada and Mexico from June 1.
As the preparation for retaliatory measures, the EU notified to the WTO a list of U.S. products on which the EU may in the future apply extra import duties on May 18, and in line with the Organization rules, could be triggered 30 days later.
According to EU statistics, the U.S. measures affected EU exports worth 6.4 billion euros in 2017. The EU will therefore impose rebalancing duties immediately on U.S. products valued at up to 2.8 billion euros of trade. The remaining rebalancing on trade valued at 3.6 billion euros will take place at a later stage, in three years time or after a positive finding in WTO dispute settlement if that should come sooner.
Impose rebalancing duties is part of the "three-pronged response" outlined by the European Commission, including the launch of legal proceedings against the U.S. in the WTO on June 1 and the possible triggering of safeguard action, which aims to protect the European market from disruptions caused by the diversion of steel from the U.S. market.
An investigation on whether it's necessary to take safeguard measures was launched on March 26. The Commission has nine months to reach a conclusion. If the investigation confirms the necessity for swift action, such a decision could be taken by summer.