EU says tit-for-tat tariffs against US ready in July

The European Commission, which handles trade matters for the 28-country EU, "expects to conclude the relevant procedure in coordination with member states before the end of June," said European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic
The European Commission, which handles trade matters for the 28-country EU, “expects to conclude the relevant procedure in coordination with member states before the end of June,” said European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic (AFP Photo/John MACDOUGALL)

Brussels (AFP) – The EU on Wednesday said a raft of retaliatory tariffs, including on whiskey and motorcycles, against painful metals duties imposed by the US would be ready as early as July. The European Commission, which handles trade matters for the 28-country bloc, “expects to conclude the relevant procedure in coordination with member states before the end of June,” said European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic at a news briefing. “It is a measured and proportionate response to the unilateral and illegal decision taken by the US to impose tariffs on the European steel and aluminium exports which we regret,” said the former Slovak prime minister. From blue jeans to motorbikes and whiskey, the EU’s hit-list of products targeted for tariffs with the US reads like a catalogue of emblematic American exports. The European Union originally drew up the list in March but pledged not activate it unless US President Donald Trump followed through on his threat to impose 25 percent tariffs on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminium. The Trump tariffs came into effect on June 1 and the EU now joins Mexico and Canada and other close allies that have announced their own wave of counter-duties against Washington. The EU commission must now take their proposal to be signed off by the bloc’s member states amid divisions over what path to take against Trump’s unpredictable policies.  France and the Netherlands back a tough line against the US, while export powerhouse Germany has urged caution towards Trump’s “America First” policies.