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EU pledges 'countermeasures' on Trump's new tariffs

EU PLEDGES COUNTERMEASURES ON TRUMPS NEW TARIFFS

Strongly regretting the U.S. president's announcement of the implementation of new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, the European Commission on Thursday promised "countermeasures" against the U.S. goods for a "rebalance" in trade between Europe and the U.S.

"We strongly regret this step, which appears to represent a blatant intervention to protect U.S. domestic industry and not to be based on any national security justification," Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, said in a written statement.

"Protectionism cannot be the answer to our common problem in the steel sector. Instead of providing a solution, this move can only aggravate matters," Juncker added.

Promising retaliation for the U.S. restriction on steel and aluminum affecting the EU, Juncker the EU would react "firmly and commensurately" to defend its interest.

"We will not sit idly while our industry is hit with unfair measures that put thousands of European jobs at risk," Juncker said, adding, "The Commission will bring forward in the next few days a proposal for WTO-compatible countermeasures against the U.S. to rebalance the situation."

Earlier in the day, Trump said the U.S. would implement 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent on aluminum imports as of next week.

Mentioning "a negative impact" of U.S. measues on transatlantic relations and on global markets, Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Trade, added: "In addition, they will raise costs and reduce choice for U.S. consumers of steel and aluminium, including industries that import these commodities."

Malmström also said the EU would ask for a dispute in Geneva "at the earliest opportunity".

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