EU sues US at WTO over “illegal” tariffs

The European Union has filed a complaint against the US at the World Trade Organization (WTO) after the administration of President Donald Trump announced huge tariffs on EU aluminum and steel products – a move that the Union has already criticized as illegal.

Cecilia Malmström, the EU trade commissioner, was quoted by media as saying that Trump’s administration had started a “dangerous game” through raising the tariffs.

Malmström added that Washington’s claim that the tariffs were needed for national security was unjustified, stressing that such positions were nothing more than “pure protectionism”.

She further emphasized that the issue had created a “difficult situation” in trade on both sides of the Atlantic.

“We are not in a trade war, but we are in a very difficult situation caused by the United States,” Malmström was quoted as saying by the Guardian.

“I would not use the term ‘trade war’ because it has a psychological effect.” But she added: “The US is playing a dangerous game here.”

At the heart of the matter is a recent announcement by the US that it had imposed a 25% duty on European steel and a 10% duty on European aluminum.

The EU has not yet made final decisions on tit-for-tat measures on US products, although it has a list of goods it could hit with retaliatory tariffs, the Guardian added.

The European commission said it needed to consult with member state diplomats before announcing the goods that will be targeted. “We have not made final decisions on it, but we will use that list of course,” Malmström said.

That final decision is expected within weeks, as officials insisted all EU member states backed Brussels. “All of them feel that at this point in time it is very important to maintain credibility,” the Guardian quoted an EU source as saying.

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